The Great Belonging

How Loneliness Leads Us to Each Other

The Great Belonging

How Loneliness Leads Us to Each Other

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Available November 10, 2020

Loneliness has reached epidemic proportions, according to many sources. In an age of mobility and fraying civic life, we are all susceptible to its power. But what if loneliness is a necessary part of the human condition? What if it is a current that leads us deeper into belonging--to ourselves, to each other, and to God?

In The Great Belonging, writer and spiritual director Charlotte Donlon reframes loneliness and offers us a language for the disquiet within. Instead of turning away from the waters of loneliness for fear they will engulf us, she invites us to wade in and see what we find there. In vulnerable, thoughtful prose, Donlon helps us understand our own occasional or frequent loneliness and offers touchpoints for understanding alienation. We can live into the persistent questions of loneliness. We can notice God's presence even when we feel alone in our doubts. Ultimately, Donlon claims, we can find connection that emerges from honesty, and she offers tools, resources, and practices for transforming loneliness into true belonging.


"In the company of The Great Belonging's fearless and smart author, Charlotte Donlon, we, the readers, are allowed to indulge our interest in loneliness. I hope you and your loneliness will love this book as much as I do."
—Lauren F. Winner, from the foreword
"Charlotte Donlon's words will reach places in your soul you didn't know existed and open parts of your heart you didn't know had been long closed. This isn't just a book about loneliness. It's a book about being human."
—Karen Swallow Prior, author of On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books and several other books
"Charlotte Donlon covers her twin subjects of isolation and alienation in ways that help the reader not only get through them but hold them and learn from them graciously. Somehow both timely and timeless--highly recommended."
—David Zahl, director of Mockingbird Ministries and author of Seculosity
"The Great Belonging is articulate, beautiful, and brooding. I deeply resonated with so much within these pages and am confident others will too. A phenomenal and refreshing debut!"
—Marlena Graves, author, The Way Up Is Down: Finding Yourself by Forgetting Yourself
"Charlotte Donlon has created a beautiful and layered offering for readers to examine the various ways loneliness reveals itself. She skillfully invites each of us to honor loneliness while remembering that--paradoxically--it also unites us."
—Aundi Kolber, therapist and author of Try Softer


"Evocative...Donlon's comforting work will appeal to any Christian looking to stave off the negative aspects of isolation."
—Publishers Weekly

Product Info

  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • ISBN 9781506461960
  • Format Paperback
  • Dimensions 5 x 7
  • Pages 192
  • Publication Date November 10, 2020