This story and reflection has been adapted from one written by Elisabeth Sutcliffe for CSOC.
Everyone can feel lonely at times. We can feel lonely because we can’t be with our friends or family. But sometimes we can feel lonely even when we are with people. They are there but we feel alone. This is a story about Joey who moved away and found it lonely being apart from his friends.
Joey was moving away to a different town. His dad had a new job, just for a year. Everyone said it would be exciting – a new school and a house with his own room. But for Joey and his best friend Sam, one year sounded a very, very long time to be apart. When the day of the move came, Joey didn’t want to wave goodbye.As he closed the car door, he felt empty. He had left a bit of himself behind.
The next few days were hard for Joey.The new house was ok and his bedroom was great, but inside himself he felt a bit sad and lonely. Nothing was the same and part of him was missing. He went to the park for a game of football… but it didn’t feel right without Sam to kick a ball to. He made a cake with his dad… but he didn’t have a best friend to share it with. He read a really funny joke in a book… but Sam wasn’t there to tell it to and suddenly it wasn’t so funny anymore. His dad said he could always talk to his friends online… but Joey didn’t want to. It wasn’t the same.
Time passed. Sam and Joey sent a couple of messages to each other. Joey found it hard hearing about Sam’s games with lots of their old friends. And Sam had started playing the guitar too. Maybe Sam didn’t miss him at all? He seemed happy in all the photos. Maybe it was only him who still felt a bit sad and lonely. He still had a part missing.
Gradually, Joey began to make some new friends at his new school. He played games with them in the playground and climbed trees in the park. He joined the local football team and even scored the winning goal against their rival team. He didn’t notice the part of him that was missing quite as often. It wasn’t quite the same as before, but there was still a gap there, hiding underneath.
The year passed, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly. But before he knew it, Joey and his dad were heading back home. Joey was feeling a bit anxious. He’d been really busy and made lots of new friends. He knew he’d not stayed the same and Sam had changed too. He hadn’t spoken to him for ages. What if they didn’t really get on anymore? What if there wasn’t space for him anymore? What if..? The car turned into their road and Joey saw that Sam was standing there, smiling and waiting for him. Every part of Joey lit up with an enormous smile too.
I wonder, which part of the story do you like best? I wonder why Joey felt he had a missing part? I wonder, was there anything good about Joey’s time away? I wonder how Sam felt while Joey was away?
When Joey first moved away he was sad and lonely. He felt like part of him was missing. Even though he began to enjoy living in a new place, coming home made him realise that good friends are always there for you.
On some paper, you might want to draw a person with a missing part and think about what you have been missing? Or perhaps you could draw a time you were lonely, or a time you enjoyed being with a friend. Or you might want to sit and think, or to create something different – whatever is right for you today.
If you would like to you can say this prayer...
Dear God, Help us to know we are never alone. May we find ways to stay connected to others so that no one feels lonely. Amen