Many Changes

run in wet sharp snow

face frozen warm salty tears

wise mind smiling face

A serendipitous meeting with someone from long ago before I entered medicine in my days of working temporary jobs in the late days graduate school. A world away from what I do now. Instantly the great connection of work from long ago filling both of us with laughter; the joy of  catching up with a person who survived a threat to life; now both of us changed drastically.

It was in the summer three weeks leading up to a summer holiday when I was spending some time sitting in the cool of the subway stations; looking at the tiled walls to sort out my thoughts. Would I continue to pursue the acquisition of new truths? Would I take on the challenge of medicine leaving the familiarity of the research lab and teaching? These were my contemplations on my runs and daily bike trips.

As I met and worked with this person, as a temporary personal assistant-solving problems and meeting needs, I rode the subway home at night; trying and eventually making my decision to pursue medicine. I decided to “hold my nose and jump” not knowing if I had made the right decision but a decision was made in that last summer, that last temp job.

He looked at me; and remarked that I had the same green eyes that laughed when I solved a problem. He said that I had changed; almost unrecognizable from my current running regimen an my now grey hair. He said that he had come to terms with how life is for him now but surprised that I had become a physician. “You become a doctor in that period of time?”, he stated with some amazement.

The rest of the day spent laughing at how anyone who knew me back then, would likely not recognize me now. The changes in me, of life; the weathering of my soul; the breaking of my heart and the almost taking of my life. All of the events that changed me and would change anyone, I suppose. The chance meeting of someone I never thought I would encounter in this part of my life. Both of us surviving and accepting that the reality of existence is truly remarkable.

I keep questioning why experiences come in and out of my life. As I ran in evening, in the newly falling wet snow, I had to work hard at containing my joy that I  had played a memorable role, certainly in those three weeks of summer a lifetime ago. I was actually memorable for someone who has encountered thousands of people but remembered that I have green eyes that laugh when I solve a problem.

The absolute joy of just catching up and the sheer joy of allowing humanity to be human; relishing in that enjoyment. Ah, the gifts that I am given; my eternal gratitude for those subway tiles on those hot summer days a very long time ago; too hot to bike but cool enough to answer my questions.



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