Yesterday I spent the day at a hospital with a friend who had surgery. I've been in many hospitals for my own medical care or to support another person. But this experience made what I already knew more real to me. Each of us is unique, traveling our own individual journey through life, but at the same time part of the great whole that makes us the human race. It's kind of like each individual drop of water being part of the whole body we call the ocean.
While my friend was in surgery, I wandered through the halls and outside the building. I've always been a people-watcher, but yesterday I was more keenly aware of everyone and everything I came across. I saw people in wheelchairs or walking with canes while others walked straight and tall. I saw a nurse consoling a woman who was crying, and I noticed a beautiful little boy who was grinning at me. In fact, everyone I smiled at smiled back at me. I felt the patient's pain and heard their moans, while medical personnel saw to their daily duties. The contrasts were everywhere.
I found a concrete ledge outside and sat down. I took off my shoes and rested my bare feet on mother earth, while little ants scampered around as if they knew where they were going. The sun was warm, but there was a cool breeze under the big oak tree where I sat watching a black crow scrounging for his lunch in the dirt near by. Once in a while someone sat next to me. Some were happy. Some were not. But each had a story to tell--a unique story, yet part of all the stories you hear in a hospital setting.
As the day moved on, the hospital became a microcosm of the bigger world, and I became more increasingly aware of life and its many facets. We each know sadness and joy, pain and bliss, feast and famine, love and hate, lack and plenty, illness and health--everything in the human experience. And we're never alone in any of it. While we're going through something, another person somewhere else is going through the same thing in their own unique way. In our humanness, we're all a part of each other. How sad that we don't claim the ocean in which we swim. It's really quite a beautiful ocean in spite of the differences that we believe separate us.
I'm grateful for this hospital experience. It reminded me that I'm more than what I see in the mirror.
Love yourself. You're much more than you know.