Solitude and Loneliness
Updated: Oct 28, 2020
On occasion, unexpected experiences, provide us with unique insights and clarity that can be applied to other areas of our lives.
There were times when I first moved to Israel, that I was so overwhelmed with life in a foreign language and culture. Israel was a much bigger culture shock than the five countries I had lived in previously. I recall one day in a school meeting trying to figure out so many pieces of a puzzle where I was only able to understand every third word. I had a small taste of what a person who is blind and deaf feels and experiences. I of course do not actually know what it is like not to be able to see or hear, but I did have a glimpse into the life of someone who must live life without full access to the information around them.
Today I went on a gorgeous walk through the spectacular Samaria Gorge in Crete. It was supposed to be a 16km walk but heavy rains a few days ago destroyed some of the bridges making large parts of the hike inaccessible. It was not very difficult but the river crossings that are usually low water or with bridges across them, had to be navigated stepping on stones. Frequently there was no choice but to wade in the water. I did not bring hiking shoes and I was reassured sneakers were fine. Except that crossing water without waterproof shoes is challenging.
There were only nine of us in the group, but the other eight were German speaking and I was the only English speaking participant. There were many times when our German speaking guide simply forgot to share information in English and I had to remind him that I was part of the group.
While walking, I was alone most of the time. I was told the guide would be with us at all times, but that was not the case. Apparently, the guide was more interested in coffee and a snooze than expounding the glorious rock formations of the gorge.
Each time I had to cross the water, I had to stop to takeoff my shoes and walk across sharp rocks and then put them back on. This left me way behind the group. I actually thoroughly enjoyed my solitude - enjoying nature and taking photos at my own pace.
However there were a few challenging moments, when I was completely left alone to fend for myself. It made me think about Caila and an analogy of how she goes through life.
Imagine being part of a group where no-one talks to you, no one speaks your language. None of your peers look out for you or include you. You are counted as part of the group and occasionally you make small talk or connect with others.
Caila has so much tenacity. What was interesting experience for me for a part of one day is Caila’s reality every day. And despite this, she somehow manages to prevail and she achieves her goals.
Based on my experience though, it must be pretty lonely out there for Caila, day after day hiking the path of life, without feeling part of the group.