Educated on a Subway

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My thoughts on a random day of illness.

I remember I was in Washington DC with my friend, Amy. At the time, I was 7 months pregnant and not allowed to eat sugar. That caused some grief in our trip due to our visit to Hershey, Pennsylvania. That was seriously difficult as chocolate (especially Hershey’s) is my favorite.

I wasn’t feeling well and had to walk a lot on the trip as you can imagine. The year was 2007 and because it was only 6 years after the terrorist attacks, we had to make extra concessions for safety measures. For example, due to my problems during my pregnancies with dehydration, I had to carry water with me everywhere I went; however, upon entering any building in DC they forced me to take drinks of my water and then check my mouth afterword to make sure I wasn’t smuggling something in. Nice.

Regardless, in and out of buildings and 7 months pregnant, my feet had turned to grapefruit. I was on the subway, which was extremely crowded, standing and holding a pole. My face resting on the cold metal, my feet were sore and swollen and all I could think about was why in the world did I just spend 3.5 hours in a line to see the Declaration of Independence when the replica (at the beginning) looked EXACTLY the same! I was grumpy about it. Seriously. Grumpy. I wanted to see Da Vinci’s work, but my friend was bored with the art museums and I was bored with the historical ‘Land of the Free’ stuff. We have very different personalities and very different opinions about what’s important in life. Usually we complement each other, but that portion of the trip was hard.

I remember standing there, in pain, longing to be relaxing somewhere when suddenly a random guy said to me, “Ma’am would you like to sit down?”

I looked around the packed subway, people were sitting, many were standing, all were smooshed together and I noticed the culture. I admired how people didn’t care who was touching who. It seemed that ethnic differences were not a “thing”. Accents differentiated, skin colors were all shades and hues, social class was non-descriptive. I noticed people with dreadlocks both white and black, people with brief cases of all nationalities, women and men in suits, gay people, straight people, some that were transgendered, hippies, elderly, homeless, weed smokers, non-smokers, crack smokers, gravely ill, and young and healthy. I noticed artists, business people, moms, dads, creepers, literally everybody. I truly just noticed everyone, packed on this underground train, riding along together.

I glanced at the man, suddenly my feet were aching a little bit less and I smiled to him and said, “Thank you, so very much, but I think I will stand.” I was in pain and my feet were very, very swollen, but I realized on that subway for a moments time, I was fluid, connected somehow to a society that is much bigger than my own. There was an energy there, a oneness, and I was blatantly enamored with it.

I had an epiphany that day. Though I always knew it, that was the day I consciously realized that there is more to life than what we do for a living, what we look like, how we dress, the color of our skin, what our habits are, etc. That was the day where I realized people were all here for a reason, that there is a major balance and we are all necessary to make the world spin. God doesn’t make mistakes; this world is perfect how it is. It was a subway train that opened my eyes to my connection with all of humanity.

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