In his book, on becoming human, Vanier mentions the concept of loneliness. He went to different communities and various psychiatric hospitals to look at different cases that would help him understand the true meaning of loneliness. One of these cases are of a child named Eric. Vanier met him in mental hospital, which was about forty kilometers away from L’arche communities, in the year1977. This was a small town named Trosly, in France (with whom Vanier spend numerous years to gain firsthand experience of loneliness). Eric was sixteen when he had been admitted to the hospital and because of his condition, Eric needed tremendous amount of help, to get to the positive side of life. He was intensely blind and completely deaf. He had no normality when it came to trusting people and loving people and have these feelings reciprocated, as to him, the definition of trust and love had not emerged yet. He would open his arms to hug anyone if he felt them coming close to him and right after holding on, he would start to freak out and start shouting. It took a lot of time and years to stabilize him and make him realize that he was not alone in his situation and is loved and cherished by people for his uniqueness. On the other hand, Vanier met another young fellow, named Perrie. He had twelve siblings and was seventh in line of this family. His family was dysfunction by definition as his father went to prison early on and he had run away from home. Vanier met him when he was twelve and in montreal. Since Perrie had rough family history, he got in a lot of trouble because he had been hanging around with a lot of gangs. Furthermore, at the age of sixteen, Perrie committed his first crime which Vanier thought to was “a cry for help”. Also, Vanier mentioned that since Perrie felt neglected by his family, he needed someone who could guide him in the right direction. For committing the crime that Perrie did, he went to jail for it where, he met a woman, and since she visited the jail very often, Perrie fell in love with her and after coming out of the jail, married this woman and lived the life that he deserved.
On the basis of these cases, the author feels that loneliness can be a string emotion and can be interpreted in many ways, he further explains that it is an important feeling that is experienced by every individual. It is also a very vital emotion for humans as even though it makes us vulnerable, it also makes us human. There are so many lonely people in the world, some find an indirect way to deal with it by making themselves devoted to deities but for many others loneliness drives them to the edge and sometimes even pushes them over. Communities like L’arche, are there to make sure that people feel belonged and loved and not alone. These are places where people can give, and experience love in many different ways and also find various techniques to heal themselves and others. Lastly, I would like to quote one direct principle that Vanier believes about these communities, that “the necessity
of human commitment to the evolution of the new, the necessity of accepting constant movement as the key to our humanity and as the only road to becoming truly human.”
Summerizing the report, I would like to conclude that Vanier that touched on some of the very important thoughts on loneliness and I can relate to it in terms of how loneliness is a part of life and how we fill it by performing other tasks so we don’t have to think about being alone. Our tasks act as distractions and instead of accepting that loneliness is a part of our life and is something that makes us human, we tend to deny it because we feel the being alone we wont able to handle life and according to the author, life is completely opposite. It is the time of difficulty that gives us a chance to be strong.