You can be the Antidote to a Public Health Crisis! (I’m not kidding?)
I don’t care where you are, or when you are reading this – RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU EXPERIENCE FEELINGS OF LONELINESS! If your hand went up or if it should have gone up, you are not alone. Even before COVID, our country was experiencing an epidemic of loneliness. A 2022 Surgeon General Study found that when people were asked how close they felt to others emotionally, only 39% of adults in the U.S. said that they felt very connected to others and larger numbers reported feelings of loneliness.
“Hm,” you might think “that makes sense, our society is aging, and older folks can be isolated.” While there is some truth to that, some of the highest rates of loneliness are among young adults. And did you know that loneliness is a health issue? That’s right! Living in a state of loneliness increases feelings of anxiety, leads to high blood pressure, increases the risk of heart disease, depression, and dementia. And here is the “kicker” – people don’t realize what a toll loneliness is taking on them or the people they know.”
However, there is a simple antidote to loneliness, and you can administer this antidote to others and yourself. The antidote is hospitality! Hospitality is the act of fostering connections with people. When you engage in acts of hospitality, you are doing something good for someone else, even while doing something good for yourself! (Remember that thing about, “Loving your neighbor as yourself?”) Last Sunday at CSM, we talked about the “spiritual practice of hospitality” and how we can show hospitality in many different ways. Here are just a few ideas.
- Give a hug. (ask their permission first!)
- Double a recipe and take someone a meal.
- Ask someone about their day and sit down to really listen.
- Babysit for a young family.
- Give fresh flowers.
- Give a smile to someone you don’t know.
- Send an encouraging text message to a young person.
- Offer a word of encouragement.
- Share some homemade goodies with an older couple or widow/widower.
- Send a notecard to someone who hasn’t been around much lately.
- Pay for coffee for someone behind you in line.
And I know you can think of a lot more ways! Here is the challenge- perform one act of intentional hospitality and watch what happens. Then tell me about it because together we can create a more hospitable and healthy place.
See you in Church! This coming Sunday we are discussing the spiritual practice of “Passionate Worship.”