The Loneliness Epidemic

I almost didn’t read Susan Mettes‘ new book The Loneliness Epidemic: Why So Many of Us Feel Alone—And How Leaders Can Respond. After all, hasn’t loneliness already headlined discussions throughout the pandemic? Don’t we already know that people are lonely? What fresh perspective could this book possibly plant in me?

AND THEN, once I read the book, I almost didn’t review it. As many of you know, if I can’t give a book four or five stars, I quietly set the book aside.

Why was I hesitant to review it? Because Sgt. Joe Friday’s attributed quote, “Just the facts, ma’am,” applies to large sections of this book. Only natural that it would; Author Susan Mettes approaches the topic of loneliness as the superb researcher and behavioral scientist she is. Which means that she’s filled the pages with truckloads of data and summary analyses.

So much data.

I thought it would get in the way. Rattle around in my head without moving me to action. For me to review the book, all that research needed to find its way to my heart. I doubted that would happen.

BUT . . . after all that info percolated in me for a couple of weeks, I realized that Mettes’s research had worked its magic. I found myself returning to her surprising information about loneliness, and it built curiosity in me, evoked empathy in me for the lonely everywhere among us. It showed me new places to find lonely people, and caused me to question blanket assumptions about who is lonely and who isn’t.

Mettes carried me into the world of the lonely, a world which I sometimes inhabit, and gave me sharpened eyesight and a determination to pay attention, to love more deeply and meaningfully. She lit a fire of urgency in me—compelling me to reach out to the lonely in ways that will make a difference, not just to follow long-practiced protocols that don’t actually reduce loneliness.

I do wish the advice offered to leaders in the last section of the book were as well fleshed out as her research. I found that section too slim.

Nonetheless, I bring you this four-star book, trusting that you’ll find it meaningful and motivating, as did I.


Now, for recent photo posts . . . these:

PNW webfoot weather.

(Snow geese on Wiser Lake)

“Let not the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the pit close its mouth over me.”

—Psalm 69:15


Wandered down to the creek with visiting family last week, where we applauded coho after they . . . .

Evaded eaters.✅

Found the sea.✅

Wandered the ocean.✅

Fought their way back upriver.✅

Sniffed out our home creek.✅

Changed color.✅

Courted mates✅

Dug redds.✅




How narwhals fly.

“Your lovingkindness, O Lord, extends to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.”

—Psalm 36:5


Thanks for stopping by, friends. So glad you’re here.

Watching Nature, Seeing Life: Through His Creation, God Speaks

P.S. Looking for a Christmas read? Get a personalized copy of Sugar Birds HERE.

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Love the outdoors? I can take you there. Rural & wild PNW posts and photos from a naturalist, faith writer, and author of three books, including the award-winning novel Sugar Birds. Member of Redbud Writers Guild.

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