An Eye-Opening Awareness: One More Transition for this Guy

I sat at a luncheon two weeks ago that opened my eyes to a reality that I knew was there, but as the discussion unfolded I began to realize how the discussion, about to take place, was going to expand my thinking. As I listened to the needs of the people with whom I shared lunch, I began to feel the intensity of their stories which gave me an even deeper resolve to make a difference in the lives of those who are lonely.

Once each month, Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly (LBFE), hosts a luncheon in partnership with a group called Prime Timers. Prime Timers is an international organization for LGBTQIA seniors and friends. This month, the luncheon featured a group who came in to facilitate a discussion regarding the needs of LGBTQIA seniors. I listened, as over and over again I heard stories of isolation and loneliness. I heard one man say that he goes weeks without speaking to anyone, and, in that time frame, he does not experience any human interaction. Many shared the reality of deceased parents, alienated siblings, and no children to offer support. I just sat there, stunned. I was sure that LBFE can, and will, help him. But how many more individuals do we not know about?

My extroverted self immediately thought, “Well, go sit in a coffee shop and talk to people.” When I shared that idea with a colleague, I was reminded that I am one who starts conversations with trees and light poles, as well as people. I was reminded that most introverts could not begin to take that action. So, what to do?

Let’s begin at home. Who on your street, straight or LGBTQIA, is lonely? Who does not have family around or friends still living, who come to visit? Who is in need of friendship? Every human being needs human interaction. Connection with others is as basic a human need as food and water and shelter.

So, whether or not you go through LBFE, take the time to reach out, befriend, and support a grandparent or a neighbor or a member of your faith community. Every person NEEDS someone with whom they find emotional or spiritual support. Every person needs the experience of human interaction and connection.

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