What is lonely and what is being alone?
Lonely is when you know that there’s no one in the world who cares for you totally. No-one for whom you are the whole world.
Lonely is not being alone.
There’s so much that one can do to fill time.
I know.
Today I cleaned the house again.
I arranged the flowers again and again!
Emptied my dishwasher again.
Why use a dishwasher when you are one?
Why cook when you are one?
“Oh! you can invite someone in!”
I haven’t the energy to cook for myself, so why for another? Another who maybe a friend, but still has others to care about and give attention to.
I have others too!
I have a beautiful and loving family. Some living really nearby.
They all love and care about me BUT…. all have someone or more than one, who is, are the focus of their attention, love and energy.
This is the ultimate fulfilment of life.
This is what stops you from being a lonely one.   One is alone, not alive!
What about Netflix, the radio, chat shows and more? Distracting you from loneliness? No it doesn’t.
It doesn’t because humans like to share.

For almost 60 years I had someone who cared for and loved me. Someone for whom I was the most important being in the world. When he, after battling against cruel, disfiguring and debilitating illness died, it was two years before anyone came into my life, who truly cared only for me.

And then it happened. Out of the blue almost, came a young man who could have been my grandson. He gave me a “raison d’etre” because strangely, like me had an empty place inside waiting to be filled.

I was no longer alone. Wherever he was he made contact. Partly because he needed my advice or help but even when he was immersed in study, there were always the breaks of togetherness. Music, language, writing, the beach, the sea, everything was shared or discussed; I was bowled over. When this period came to an end I knew what loneliness was, really was.

The Corona period has given us all so much time for thought. Not just to think about banal things but also of what is truly important. It has not made loneliness any easier.

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Zelda Harris
Zelda Harris was born in London and came to Israel in 1949. She returned to England in 1966. She was a founding member of the Women's Campaign for Soviet Jewry. In 1978, she returned with her family to Israel and has been active in various spheres of Israeli Society since. Together with the late Chaim Herzog, she founded CCC for Electoral Reform, was the Director of BIPAC in Israel, and a co-founder of Metuna, the Organisation for Road Safety, which received the Speaker of Knesset Quality of Life Award for saving lives on the roads and prevention of serious injury. She is now a peace activist, blogger for Times of Israel and is writing her life story.

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