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An antidote for isolation

A Christian Science perspective on daily life

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The last U.S. census figures show that one fourth of the nation's households – 27.2 million – consist of just one person. A study in the American Sociological Review in June reports that 25 percent of people feel they have no friends in whom they can confide.

Isolation and loneliness are no longer reserved for the elderly; college students to empty-nesters share these feelings.

The reasons are many.

Cellphones and the Internet make communication easy and instantaneous, but may hamper developing face-to-face relationships. Home entertainment is more readily available via cable and DVDs than in generations when the front porch and neighbors were entertainment mainstays.

What's the remedy?

One answer I've found is in the Bible. There are 19 references to Jesus' commandment to "love one another." Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, noted the importance of that idea: " 'Love one another' (I John 3:23), is the most simple and profound counsel of the inspired writer" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 572).

When I was left alone after a divorce, I had to dig deeply to stem the depression I felt day after day, alone in my apartment. I am used to working out problems by turning to the Bible and to Science and Health, so I expected to find healing messages in these books.

But as I studied, I wasn't finding any relief. No one called me.

I found that another word for love in the Bible is "charity." There is a long discussion of charity in First Corinthians 13. The first three verses mention how we can act in ways that perhaps should bring us esteem or pleasure or even friends – speak with lofty eloquence, understand lots of deep things, and even give all our possessions to the poor.

But doing those things without charity, these verses point out, doesn't satisfy. Acts without charity, it says, "profiteth me nothing."

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