Ships Passing in the Night

Do you ever wonder about the things that we pass by – the things we don’t even notice?

I often do. Passing a car as I drive down the road in the dark, all I see are low beams. All that driver sees of me are mine. Nothing more. And not another thought of that car or that driver is in my head. Walking past a stranger on the sidewalk – it’s the same thing. I may nod or acknowledge their presence in some other way, I may note their appearance or demeanor, but once they’ve passed me they’re gone. After I’ve past them, I’m gone to them.

Obviously this is just a meaningless happenstance. We could not live other wise, knowing everyone and everything we pass. That is not a possibility.

But that driver or that pedestrian has a world that is both the same as ours and completely different. They encounter the same weather and the same surroundings as we do in the same time and space. But their world is as different from ours as it is similar.

I do not experience the same stimuli the same way each time I encounter it. On a day when I’m rushed and running late I do not interact with my environment in the same way I do when I’ve got all the time in the world. I don’t stop and smell the roses when I’m worried about something, but when I’ve no pressing priorities, I see more, I speak more, I do more. Most people have this in common. So of course not all people respond to their surroundings in the same way. Each person experiences this world in a unique way.

So just imagine the lives of those people we pass. They have whole lives that a person in passing couldn’t possibly fathom. We pass one another without second thought, and that’s okay, mostly. So many individual lives, so many worlds. Just think what we’re passing by. I’m amazed. 

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