Here are some previous thoughts on the subject of Loneliness. When you have finished on this page, click Back to look at other topics.

We human beings seem to need the company of other people like ourselves. Pete Trainor wants to find other people with the same Christian name so he has set up a website . He aims to get 2,000 Petes together at the same place at the same time and break a Guiness Record. Cornishman Robbie Wright wants to be able to identify others who can, or who want to, speak Cornish so he has designed learner plates, an L superimposed on a Cornish flag badge, so that students can recognise each other on the street and stop for a chat.

However serious or trivial the uniting factor, such searching represents a desire not to be alone. Companionship and conversation are basic human needs. The biblical tradition about the creation suggests God intended such sharing and camaraderie to become one of the basic elements in human life. In the story , he created Eve because “It is not good that the man should be alone”.

Let’s today be grateful for the different levels at which we are able to relate to others and be particularly glad for those with whom common interests or a less definable rapport bring joy and variety to our lives. We do need moments of aloneness - and some unfortunately have far more than they need - but being part of a community of friends and colleagues is a source of great richness.

Francesca Rosella, a graduate from the Ivrea Design Institute in Turin, has developed a hugging T-shirt. It apparently simulates the breath, touch and heartbeat of someone you wish could be with you in reality but isn’t. Mobile phone technology is used to transmit the body temperature, heart beat and touch of the absent person so that, at a touch of a button, their hug is recreated by the T-shirt inflating and deflating.

Designed to be a substitute for an absent loved one, the T-shirt might in fact simply increase the longing for them to be there in person. Physical separation from someone you want to be with creates a pain only really alleviated by their return. It’s a pain which reflects another reality – that all of us are ultimately alone. Each parting from someone we love reminds us that the only person we shall never be parted from is ourselves.

Believers in God find comfort in the pain of such aloneness. God is always with us and eternal; his love surrounds us every moment; his care is more reassuring than any technological T-shirt. But the pain of human separation is not alleviated by such trust. It is part of the human condition. Perhaps today, if we’re tempted to search for some way of avoiding moments of loneliness, we should instead look inside ourselves, and if we believe in God to him, for the resources to deal with this most fundamental of human emotions.


Following five days of loud non-stop music, the police decided to break into a flat in Bremen. The lights were on but nobody would answer the door. "All we found was a pet hamster,” said a police spokesman. “The occupant was away on holiday. A friend of his arrived to give the animal its food. She told us the owner left the music on so the hamster wouldn't feel lonely."

Loneliness is something most people fear. We may even feel some sympathy for the desire of the golden hamster’s owner to protect her pet from it. It often brings a sense of isolation, of rejection, of being unwanted. It chimes in with other common human fears such as that we’re unlovable, odd or such a failure that no one would want anything to do with us.

Jesus must have known how it felt throughout his ministry. The responsibility he bore and the failure of his closest friends to share it or even understand its implications, left him alone to carry the burden. He must have become particularly familiar with the feeling during the last days of his life as his friends let him down even more cruelly.

Whatever the hamster’s owner might do to try and disguise the fact, the hamster was alone. So was Jesus. So, often, are we. Perhaps what’s important is not to be frightened of loneliness. Often it’s the associated feelings which are actually upsetting us. Loneliness may not be an inevitable part of being a hamster – especially with such thoughtful owners around as the one in Bremen – but it is an inevitable part of being human. We may prefer companionship, but if loneliness is our lot, occasionally or more often, there’s nothing in it of itself that we need fear.

Japanese DJ, Junko Suzuki, is sleeping better now. Estranged from her husband, she’s discovered a night time companion which doesn't squirm or thrash in the night, and she knows will be there in the morning. It’s a new pillow from linen maker Kameo Corporation which consists of a headless torso and a stuffed arm that curls around the sleeper.

"I like to sleep holding someone's hand and this pillow makes me feel relaxed because I can hold the arm and feel something warm at my side." she said in her home outside Tokyo. "I think this is great because this does not betray me." The pillow’s popularity has led Kameo to develop new models: muscular pillows for sleepers who like their pillows well-built; slender models for those after a more sensitive, vulnerable partner.

It’s true that the male of our species – and indeed the female - can fail miserably to provide the warmth and comfort that their loved ones would like. We can’t make those close to us, family, friends or partners, conform to the shape that suits us. They are people making their own decisions and with their own needs and moods which often don’t match ours. Relating to such real people is always a risk because however much we trust them, there are many ways, large and small, that we could feel betrayed by them.

But perhaps today, especially if someone we look to for comfort isn’t offering it, we might remember to treasure the real people they are, awkwardness and all; better by far than a pillow, however comfortingly shaped.

The 25,000 members of the Eddie Stobart Fan club come from all over the country and from a wide range of professions. Eddie Stobart himself no longer runs the fleet of lorries he has made famous. But the fan club continues undaunted – receiving their fleet list updates and continuing their spotting of his lorries as they travel up and down the motorways.

Motorway travel is a very anonymous business. Occasionally a relationship can emerge, either of companionship or competition, with a vehicle going at roughly the same speed, but most of the time travellers, whether in cars or lorries, are completely isolated. It not only adds interest to the journey but also provides a sense of connection, to spot one of Eddie’s lorries and identify which woman’s name is emblazoned across the front.

Daily life can also be isolated. We long for connection with others. But so often we speed past each other. We exchange the words required to fulfil the task that needs to be done but at work, and even at home, we don’t find the time to make that deeper connection which a genuine “How are you” or smile can create.

Perhaps we could travel through today at less than motorway speed and give ourselves, and others, that added interest in life that even a few seconds of real interaction can bring.