Monday, October 6, 2014

The Subway Stranger

   The air was brisk, the leaves were falling and I was beginning a new career in Manhattan, electrified to embrace changes that were happening in my life. I was a new doctor with a beautiful office two blocks away from Central Park caring for professional film makers, actors, musicians and corporate executives,   who valued natural healing.  Leaving my office on that evening in October, I never knew that in just a few short minutes, a total stranger was going to quietly share his own un-invited opportunity for change with me, simply by sitting next to me and not uttering a word to me on the train.

  Rush hour in NYC always meant a race against time, and my deadline was to board a diesel powered, diesel fuming transit bus awaiting my arrival at Port Authority. This meant catching the subway, jogging through traffic, climbing up escalators, buying tickets and securing a seat on the bus, all in less than 30 minutes. This daily ritual of commuting back and forth to New York from New Jersey had to be timed with the precision of a militaristic, left-brained, mathematically inclined athlete, which I wasn’t even close to being, but somehow,( in order to beat the crunch of the rush ),  ended up enacting with the skill of a highly trained marine.  

  There I stood, standing shoulder to shoulder with commuters wearing trench coats, sipping energy drinks and reading magazines waiting for the “A” train to take me back to the Port Authority.  After hearing the sound of squeaky brakes followed by mumbled gibberish, the subway stopped, and to my delight, rather than standing, I found the last available seat on the crowded train.  Listening to the slow starting momentum of metal and steel, I took a deep breath, a grateful sigh of relief.  And then, without warning, I saw something that hit me like a” ton of bricks, “and nearly broke my heart. 

Sitting next to me on the subway train was a handsome twenty-something man with thick dark hair who was beautiful, and model perfect.  His appearance alone ought to have taken my breath away, but the sadness that he carried in his spirit that day was so obvious, that sitting next to him gave me a lump in my throat, and filled my heart with a deep, unexplained sadness. I felt the weight of his sadness between my shoulders, at the nape my neck, and at the center of my heart,   all at the same time. It was so strong that I had to work hard to hold back my tears, but “Why?” I thought.  “Why do I feel so sad?” 

 Then, with little effort, I found the answer to the subway stranger’s sadness. He was holding printed pamphlets on “Understanding Leukemia,” in both of his hands. He had a blank stare, looking down at the floor, a blank stare gazing out at the moving graffiti dancing in colors on the subway walls. A blank stare of clouds surrounding crowds of people talking, laughing and sleeping. A blank stare, casting his vision EVERYWHERE and anywhere else, choosing to ignore the lab values, office logos, written reports and  information on crumpled paper he held so tightly between his fists and trembling hands. 

The sadness that the subway stranger displayed with his blank stare and slumped appearance, seemed  to reflect an inner realization that important changes, unwelcomed ones,  were about to be made in his life. Changes on the horizon that he had no say about. Changes that could lead to regeneration, personal growth or triumph. Along with changes that he may have feared the most. Changes leading to the reality of not having his dreams fulfilled, or changes ending any opportunity of having any future at all.

 I sat in silence, praying and calling on the angels, and before I could utter a word to him, the subway stranger vanished into thin air.  Somewhere into the crowded city quietly dashing under the blinking yellow sign that read,” Welcome to 42nd Street, “and I never saw him again. 

 As Helen Keller once said, "When one door closes, another opens. But often we look so long, so regretfully, upon the closed door, that we fail to see the one that is opened for us. "  I will never know what happened to the Subway Stranger, but after sitting next to him, (on that busy, "rush to the finish line" evening in October), my commutes on the subway, were never quite the same. The change for me was in having a renewed appreciation for LIFE, and a reminder to not stress out whenever the train is late. To STOP, RELAX and BREATHE without reacting, when things don't go my way.  And to find joy, GREAT joy, in just living another day!  

Copyright 2014 Caregivers Get Fit! Mama  Nicey    All Rights Reserved
The information in this blog is information. It is not meant to be a replacement for getting medical advice from your own health professional regarding your own individual health challenge or condition. Dr. Denise will not diagnose, treat, or give direct personal consultations/advice to you on this blog for any medical condition, but will give general examples, and scientific research on many different health topics.  How you decide to use the information is between you and your own medical/ health professional.

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