Avoiding the island known as "Loneliness"

  • Published
  • By Chaplain (Maj.) Tim Porter
  • 8th Fighter Wing Chaplain
One word that describes all of us at Kunsan is "separated." We are all separated from somebody or something that gives us comfort: a familiar culture; activities or hobbies that we enjoy; our place of worship; our routine; and most importantly, from friends, our spouse, children, parents or other extended family members.

I wonder how many people at Kunsan and other overseas bases retreat to their dorm rooms every night feeling depressed and disconnected from others? It's sad that people can be in a crowd but still feel alone. Someone said, "Loneliness is an island in the middle of a sea of people." It's ironic that we have access to all kinds of social media sitesĀ and instant messaging and still can feel alone.

As we are entering into the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons, we might feel lonely due to our separation from loved ones. The distance doesn't need to get us down. There are some actions we can take to minimize loneliness.

1. Celebrate the holidays by attending chapel events and worship services. Seek to connect with God and with people of like faith. Hang out at the Sonlight Inn to watch movies, use the wireless internet or play video or table games with friends. There is a lot of good conversation and laughter that takes place at the Sonlight Inn each week.

2. Seek to grow personally, professionally and spiritually during the time of separation. Solitude can be a productive time if we use it to develop new skills, complete professional military education or a college degree, take a Korean-language class, or learn to play a musical instrument. All of these opportunities are offered on base.

3. Don't settle for inauthentic communication. We've all asked someone, "How are you doing?" Their response is, "Fine, how are you doing?" -- and that's about as deep as the conversation gets! Dig a little deeper. Watch out for one another. Be aware of the person who is isolated from the group -- who doesn't seem to fit in anywhere. Invite them to participate in your activities.

4. Take advantage of cultural trips offered by outdoor recreation, the Airmen and Family Readiness center or the chapel. Experience Korea with your friends!

Ultimately, the strength of the Wolf Pack is our kinship with one another. We make up a family away from home, so let's notice those who are alone and extend encouragement and friendship to them.