The only sign that life may give you is you
So, I’ve been in New York for just over two weeks now and I can say without exaggeration that I’ve spent at least a week of that time on a subway (uhhh…okay maybe a little exaggeration). Anyways, I truly believe that if we take the time to observe it; life can truly be our biggest teacher. Even something as mundane as a ride home on the subway holds gems that aid our growth. But we must be perceptive enough to recognize them.
Whilst I’ve reflected on the many experiences I’ve had on the subway; one in particular really stuck with me.
So I’m coming back from a poetry show on the lower east side of Manhattan. I notice a man sat on the bench opposite me on the sub. His eyes looked so tired and deep; not with sadness but with mourning. Something in me just felt like this man had lost a lot and that perhaps it would be a while before he felt OK. I got the urge to go up to him, ask if he was okay and maybe give him a hug.
Of course, my logic kicks in and I think to myself “It’s not a good idea maybe I’m imposing, I don’t think I can do this…” I’m sure you can imagine the internal dialogue going through my head. But still I see this man directly in front of me; he wipes a tear from his eyes and leans back into his seat as if he had the whole weight of the world on his shoulders.
I think to myself – I can’t just do nothing and decide that I’ll move and sit next to him when the subway stops; but of course, someone jumps in and takes that spot. I reason to myself that it ‘wasn’t meant to be’ (whatever that means) and that I probably wouldn’t have been able to help much anyway, what would I even say? But again, I see this man. I mean really see him and feel his pain as though it was my pain or the pain of a friend.
I wait again…for a sign or the perfect opportunity to speak to this man.
The sign never comes. The perfect opportunity never comes. My stop arrives, and I get off the subway and feel the deepest wave of regret and sadness. Now, of course, I understand that not everyone would have had the same experiences as I had if they saw this man; I know that I am someone who feels everything very deeply but still, I couldn’t help but think how it paralleled many of our experiences with life.
Don’t we often hesitate when it comes to doing the things in life that could actually make a difference? Don’t we ask for sign after sign to go for that thing we’ve wanted to do for ages? Don’t we wait for the circumstances to be ‘just right’ before we move to the city, start the new job, hold the event? Well, I guess my lesson from this subway experiences is to just go for it and to forget the notion that you need a sign because the only sign that life may give you is you. The pull that is on your heart that you either follow or you don’t.
You either walk away regretful like I did that evening or you try it. Maybe the only sign we get to just go for it is our humanity.
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