When I told Socrates, my seatmate on the flight from London to Athens, that I was spending FIVE days in Delphi he was aghast. I explained that it was really only 4-1/2, but he refused to hear me. Having grown up in Livadeia, a small town between Delphi and Greece, Socrates had spent a lot of time in Delphi over the years, but never five days in a row. He assured me that I would be bored out of my mind after two days and suggested I take a day trip to Galaxidi, a village on the Gulf of Corinth below Delphi.
I was beginning to think a ‘day off’ might be a good idea. I’d visited the Sanctuary several times, I’d toured the museum, and I’d walked up, down and around every street in Delphi. Still reeling from my latest conversation with Source, I thought a day away might offer some perspective. And even though I had no great desire to see Galaxidi, visions of a stroll along the waterfront and lunch at a seaside cafe were playing around in my mind. But I wasn’t ‘feeling’ it. And instead of listening to my instincts, I listened to Socrates and made the trip anyway.
Nothing really horrible happened that day. But from the moment I arrived at the bus station that morning, I had a nagging feeling that this trip was not a good idea. And there were signs all along the way telling me it was a mistake. I needed to purchase a ticket but the bus station was closed. It finally opened just before the bus was due to arrive, but then the bus was 20 minutes late. A trip that would take 20 minutes by car took an hour and a half by bus, because we had to transfer in another town and wait another 30 minutes for the next bus. When I finally arrived in Galaxidi, I was famished. I found several restaurants along a small cove that vaguely matched the visions I’d been entertaining, but none were serving lunch. In desperation and after much gesticulating, I finally found one that agreed to serve something other than coffee.
As I sat alone waiting for my lunch, I thought of my college friend Patty. After graduating with a double major in French and German, Patty moved to Germany to teach English. I never really understood what happened, but one day after she’d been gone for a few months, I got a call from her mother telling me that Patty was back; she’d had a nervous breakdown and was in the hospital. I was in shock. Patty was not only beautiful and intelligent, but she was the happiest, most joyful person I knew. At the time I thought, if this could happen to Patty, it could happen to me. Now all these years later, I understood what had happened. She was away from home living in a foreign country for the first time. She was alone and she felt totally isolated. And that’s exactly how I felt as I sat there alone eating my Greek salad and drinking my white wine.
After I finished my lunch, I had another hour before the bus was due for Delphi. Sitting in the town square listening to the leaves fluttering in the breeze, I realized that there really was no reason for me to be here. I’d come to Greece for one reason only: to connect with my past. And I knew with certainty that I had no past in Galaxidi.
When I finally arrived back in my little room in Delphi that afternoon, I felt like I’d come home. And then as if on cue, I heard bells. I ran to my balcony and there right below me was a parade of GOATS! It was almost too much to be believed. There were black goats and brown goats, white goats with brown spots, baby goats, billy goats, goats with great curled horns, goats with beards, goats of all kinds and sizes, and they kept coming – walking, running, leaping and bleating with bells clanging. My wish had been granted. Perhaps there was a lesson here. Or maybe two. Number one: don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. And number two: listen to THE VOICE and follow it.