Only the lonely, only the lonely know this feeling ain’t right

by | Apr 22, 2024 | Dogs & Other Creatures, Faith | 0 comments |

Mac dog sits quietly on the steps, pressing his body against the kitchen door, lonely and afraid. Whenever he “asks” to go outside, he won’t go until Keith or I go with him. Even then, Mac waggles his head back and forth between his need to relieve himself and his need to be safe with the pack. Cato has similar fears. He barks and throws himself against the kitchen door when he wants to come inside. And both dogs follow us around the house.

Dogs get sad and lonely

Keith and I adopted Mac in February of 2023. He’d been surrendered by the owner who raised him from a pup but could no longer keep him. Mac needed a home; we wanted a second dog.

Cato was very lonely all by himself after Heathcliff and Freya died. So, we took him with us to a meet-and-greet at Mac’s foster home, the same place where Cato was fostered, a doggie day camp and boarding place. The dogs got along well with this understanding: Cato is the alpha dog, and Mac is chill. Mac is still a little shy with people but warms up fast, especially with treats.

Dogs like Cato and Mac have already come through many toils. Neglect, abusive punishments, starved for food and attention. Unwanted. They still get lonely and sad when we leave. And so, both dogs greet us with overwhelming joy, because they know we love and want them with us.

People get lonely

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Genesis 2:18 

About a year ago, I came down with a cold. Keith and I knew I would not be going to church, even though I’d been looking forward to being with him, singing in the choir and playing with the worship team. But instead, I watched the service online.

I must admit, I rather enjoyed having the house to myself. After Keith left, I picked up sticks that winds had scattered around the yard then leisurely showered before the service. But I soon the break in my Sunday routine felt lonely. The Lord be with you—And also with you—typed in the chat. 

When Keith got home, I greeted him with as much enthusiasm as our dogs. It is not good for men and women to be alone, solitary.

Lonely ain’t right 

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 

Roy Orbison’s “Only the Lonely” is a poignant song of lost love. He knows he’ll have to find the courage to try again. He knows we are not meant to be alone. That feeling lonely ain’t right. 

As a matter of faith, Orbison’s expression is smack-on. Lonely in this case means unfrequented, remote, a condition our dogs knew well before they came to us; Keith and I also knew that feeling before we met. People and dogs know feeling lonely and afraid isn’t right. And God’s answer? “Fear not,” the most repeated command in the Bible, a phrase that appears 365 times. 

Clearly, lonely and afraid was not God’s plan.

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