As I'm in this time of great personal, spatial, vocational, and logistical transition, it's got me thinking about...well, quite a lot of things.
One thing it made me think about is something that used to boggle my mind when I was a child (and still does, in a way). One day, as I was riding in the car with my parents, I noticed all the other people around in the other cars. And it wasn't like I just glanced at them, I really saw them. And I started thinking about what a big place the world is. I thought about how just like I had a family, people I liked, disliked, struggles, passions, etc., so did all the other people I was seeing. Hundreds of people, hundreds of lives, were just flying by as I sat in the back seat of our Honda Civic. And that realization just overwhelmed me. There were so many people, lives, dreams, hopes, emotions, and pains that I would never even know about. But they were there. They were everywhere; and they were REAL.
And it made me start thinking that it's really easy to get so stuck in my own world that the things going on for other people stop seeming real. And maybe that's okay sometimes. I mean, for people who have a strong empathic streak, it really wears you out to be noticing and entering into people's real feelings with them all the time. And that means that I sometimes will (and do) minimize other people's struggles and experiences of profound suffering, just as it's happening to me now.
So many people talked to me today about something or other that they were struggling with. And I could feel that it was something big for them. But I just couldn't find it in myself to really see the magnitude of their struggle, because my own is big enough for me to handle right now. There are tons of people in my class who don't know what they're doing after graduation, and for each of us it is a really big deal. But I can't feel the magnitude of that for everyone, even thought I almost feel like I should be able to, because their anguish is so real. I feel it for the people I am close to, and maybe that's enough. Maybe that's all anyone can really do.
I guess it's just that overwhelming sense again, from my childhood, that there are so many lives and emotions going by, and I will never know them. Maybe this makes no sense, but it really kind of boggles my mind.