How to Overcome the Feeling of Isolation - Catholic Rural Life

How to Overcome the Feeling of Isolation

Kaycee Monnens Cortner • March 20, 2024

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“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love is found in community.” – Dorothy Day

I’m Kaycee Cortner for Catholic Rural Life. I’m a ranch wife, horsewoman, editor, writer, and mom. Today we’re going to be discussing what we can do when we’re feeling isolated from the rest of the world. 

Isolation is a massive problem in our society, not just for those of us living the rural life, but certainly for us to a different degree. We live in a technological age, where efficiency wins out over connection. And those of us living remotely are also quite a distance from urban areas and other people. It can be lonely.

Those involved in agriculture are 3.5 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population. Isolation is likely a contributing factor. 

Now, that’s a heavy topic, but a reality. And we know the instigator, right? The devil loves it when we feel isolated, alone, or feel like we’re the only one. We must be on guard against this. As Chesterton says, “We are not entitled to despair.” I’ll say this now and I’ll say it again, God is everywhere and He is with you always. 

God not only made us for communion with Him, He also created us for communion with one another. We aren’t meant to be lonely or isolated. 

One of the first remedies is to begin at home. The family is the most important community. No family is perfect, but we can always continue to make our marriages and homes a place where love can flourish so that we can go forth and spread it in the world. 

Just outside of our familial circles is our home parish community. If we’re honoring our Sunday obligation and going to Mass, we have the opportunity to commune with other families that share our faith. There are many opportunities to get together: women’s group, men’s group, homeschool co-ops, book clubs, and the list goes on. These groups are there in every parish to serve our need for socialization and edification through our brothers and sisters in the faith. Stay for coffee after Mass – you won’t regret it. 

Though we can be invigorated by spending time with those who share our faith, we are also called to live in community with those who don’t necessarily share our values. Indeed, many of our friends and family are probably not all practicing Catholics. No matter. God places us in this time and location because He believes we will do the most good here. Find common ground with those around you and be a light, creating community with them, too. 

The internet can be a paradoxical solution and catalyst for loneliness. Connecting with people via the internet can be used for good, but it is not the greatest good. It is better to have close community with those around you than “community” online, but in our fallen world we must make concessions. For those who feel very alone in their Catholic faith – i myself am often the only practicing Catholic in many of my circles – there are amazing online communities. This is not the ideal, but it can open the door for meaningful relationships and surround us with support and inspiration.

God can work anywhere and there are many wonderful things that happen online, but the good of the soul must be at the heart of our decision making. We all know the perils of spending too much time online – it’s probably not the best thing for our spiritual lives. FaceTiming someone will never replace a meaningful conversation in person. We all know this innately because that is how God designed us. Loving and living in communion with the people that God has given us should be the ultimate goal. 

Another solution to isolation is making use of something that is a great gift to us Catholics: the saints. The saints, who are really just great servants of Jesus Christ who are with him in Heaven, can intercede for us and help us on this earth. It’s been said that the saints choose you, and I’ve found that to be true. Some that have been immensely helpful to me are St. Anne, the patron saint of equestrians (and Christ’s grandmother); Bl. Solanus Casey, who grew up on a farm in Wisconsin and whose feast day is my wedding anniversary; and St. Joseph, who was the epitome of masculinity on this earth, a strong man who worked with his hands and protected the Virgin Mary and God in the flesh. Reading the lives of the saints helps me to relate to people I know are in Heaven who had their own sets of flaws, struggles, and imperfections, just like me. Get to know them. They will pray for you to Our Lord and accompany you.  

Also, do not neglect your guardian angel. Did you know that you receive an angel upon your birth, and that we each have one that never leaves our side as long as we live? Incredible. Yet most of us never even think of our angel. Ask for their assistance. You are never alone. 

Finally, and perhaps the most obvious point, is Our Lord is with us always. Isolation only happens if we despair of being alone, but solitude is not “bad” if we keep God at the forefront of our minds. C.S. Lewis actually insists that solitude helps us to become better friends and better Christians. He said, “We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and privacy, and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.”

Saint Padre Pio said a few words that cut to the heart: “And every day, when your heart especially feels the loneliness of life, PRAY.” 

Lastly, here is a parting sentiment from Our Lord Jesus Christ from the book of Matthew: “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”


About the author

Kaycee Monnens Cortner is a ranch wife, mother, horsewoman, writer, and editor at Tri-State Livestock News. Her family lives on a historic Wyoming cattle ranch where her husband works. She enjoys reading from Chesterton and the saints, and her blog can be found at thepreservationoffire.com.

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