We're all here on the same planet at the same time, leading semi-similar lives (in the general sense of eating, sleeping, working, worrying, loving, guiding, etc.) and yet we all live in separate worlds. Babies were born in my world. Babies are sick in someone else's world. It's a beautiful summer day in my world, and in someone else's world there's shooting and killing right outside the front door.
And then there's the world we live in inside ourselves. I can be at peace, while Dee can be in turmoil. Somebody might be in constant pain, while someone is frantic over losing their job. We could all be sitting at dinner together, going through the motions of conversations, laughing, greeting people, saying we're fine, and yet our own world might be careening into chaos, and we don't know where we'll end up. I can look at others and not realize that, for now, their world is very different than mine. Or sometimes I am with others, and know they haven't got a clue about how unstable my world is.
I can imagine us at an amusement park. We're all taking turns hopping on the craziest rides; we hand over our ticket and away we go. The over and under, round and round, up and down of life leaves us dizzy, sometimes sick, and sometimes laughing as we try to regain our balance. Then we take our turn to sit down with a cool drink, enjoy the breeze and watch the next batch of riders scream and holler their way through the adventure, relieved that for a few moments our feet are firmly on the ground and we can see the world in the right perspective.
I thought of all this as I was riding down the hospital elevator, having just spent the afternoon with my daughter, her husband and their 2 precious new babies. I was in a little bubble of happiness and relief. A young couple got in, and he was hugging her while she cried. An older lady in a wheelchair was slumped to the side, looking unseeingly at the floor while a middle-aged man (her son?) pushed her. He looked horribly tired, and hopeless, and maybe a little drunk. There were 2 nurses hurrying to get somewhere, talking and moving quickly, carrying papers and water bottles. We were all together physically in that little elevator, but we were in our own worlds, spinning at our own speed.
The Life-and-Death events always make me philosophical. My world gets shaken up, and rearranged, and I have to figure out again how I fit in, and what my role is. I'd like to put everything on pause just for a few minutes, enjoy it, and then when I'm ready, push play. But the world just keeps going around!