Music & the Spoken Word: Love and loneliness

Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This is an encore performance of “Music & the Spoken Word” with a new “Spoken Word” selected and recorded while the choir is practicing social distancing. This will be given Sunday, March 14, 2021.

Throughout history, when people have faced difficult challenges, we’ve found strength in togetherness, in gathering together. Wars, natural disasters and health crises have traditionally inspired us to reach out and comfort one another.

Over the past year and more, we’ve faced a unique challenge: at a time when we need to feel connected with others, personal contact is limited for the sake of physical health. By its nature, this pandemic restricts the very thing we need the most. It’s a contradiction, a bitter paradox: we need love, but too many feel loneliness instead.

And yet good, loving people seem to find a way to reach out safely and responsibly. And as they do, they’re finding the cure for loneliness — for themselves and for others.

Research done during the pandemic found that people can significantly reduce feelings of loneliness during tough times “just by doing things that are easy, free and require no training” — things like checking in on a neighbor, dropping off groceries or sharing some uplifting words. In fact, just getting to know a neighbor was often enough. Participants in the study who knew at least six neighbors reported less loneliness, depression and anxiety about COVID-19.

Interestingly, as the lead researcher observed, the connection doesn’t always have to be with close friends or family. “Something as simple as saying hello to your neighbor,” she said, “could make the difference.”

Small interactions can help us feel that we share a community, that we belong, that we are connected to others and are looking out for each other. The result is that we will feel less lonely and isolated, less disheartened and disconnected.

And that brings us to another paradox — this time a happier one. When we feel as if no one cares, the best thing to do is to show someone that we care. When we’re feeling down, the best way to feel uplifted is to reach out and lift someone else. The Savior of the world — who knew about both love and loneliness — taught it this way: as we lose ourselves in service to others, even during tough times, we will find our best and truest selves.

Tuning in …

The “Music & the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160AM/102.7FM,, BYUtv, BYUradio, Dish and DirectTV, SiriusXM Radio (Ch. 143), the, and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at

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