From Loneliness to Love

By Pastor Lindsey (2019)

I recently heard an interview of Dr. Vivek Murthy, the 19th Surgeon General of the United States. When Dr. Murthy took on this role, he embarked on a listening tour. He heard many stories from people. He was struck by the stories of real loneliness behind stories of addiction, abuse, or violence.

From that tour, Dr. Murthy identified what he is now describing as a “loneliness epidemic.” It’s an epidemic that, according to surveys, affects around 20% of adults in the United States and affects our health outcomes, work engagement, and school performance. To put that into perspective: that is more than the number of adults who have diabetes in the United States!

Dr. Murthy found that loneliness is more than just feeling down from time to time; it has a significant impact on our health. According to his studies, people who live with loneliness live shorter lives: “The amount by which their life is shortened is about the same as the amount by which smoking 15 cigarettes a day shortens your life. It’s greater than the impact of obesity or not exercising,” says Dr. Murthy. In addition, loneliness affects our engagement at work, our productivity, and creativity. Kids who struggle with loneliness are more likely to have complications with substance use disorders or behavioral disturbances.

There’s no one reason why we are struggling with loneliness, but Dr. Murthy believes that it has to do with connection. “We evolved to be interdependent beings…and we are all struggling to connect more deeply with each other.” Our relationships are what sustain us through the ups and downs of life. They allow us to better respond to and handle the challenges we may encounter.

“We are each other’s solution [to loneliness],” Dr. Murthy says. By learning how to give and receive love, we are nurturing those critical relationships that can bring life and meaning.

To listen to the entire interview with Dr. Vivek Murthy or to read the full transcript, visit

If you are experiencing loneliness, take comfort. You are not alone.

SOTV provides many ways to connect with others. Learn about affinity groups, support groups, or volunteer opportunities at If you are homebound and would like to be added to our visitation list, please contact Jill Johnson, Care Assistant, at 952.985.7381.