At first I used to get really frustrated waiting hours for the bus, after a long day of training. But now, I have come to expect it and even enjoy waiting. It is at the bus stop and on the bus ride home that I do most of my thinking and reflecting on the day’s events, what I learned, how I am adapting, what is my purpose for being here, what I have accomplished and so forth, among many other topics. It was yesterday, that I had the epiphany that my outlooks on people, which most definitely reflect my upbringing in New York, and subsequently living in Philadelphia for five and a half years, should be adapted slightly. While waiting for the bus in Philadelphia, everyone stands very far apart keeping to themselves and hardly ever talking to another person. Never in America will you have deep philosophical conversations with strangers at a bus stop, as I did yesterday. Deep philosophical conversations about your beliefs in god and the universe, creation and how things came to be, the concept of time, and your views about life (is it a blessing, a gift, a chore, etc.), thoughts about children and parenting, the meaning of love, and marriage, outlooks on humanity and respect for others, and so on. These are the topics that I discussed with a total stranger while waiting for the bus. I never thought I would have to confront my thoughts on these topics and have to share them with a total stranger. Yes I have thought about some of these topics, probably not fully, but it was yesterday that it really got me thinking.
How do I feel about these topics? What do I think about life? What do I want to do? What is my stance on love, religion, and humanity? Do I even want to have kids? Do I value marriage as for a lifetime, is love unconditional? How do I go about balancing my personal beliefs with the perceived collective beliefs of my culture and the way that things are seemingly going in the world?
In college, I took a course entitled Science and Religion. My motivation for taking this course was two fold. I needed an elective that was not in the College of Engineering, and I could not possibly take anything that was not in some way science related, and I have a deep appreciation for Einstein who often wrote about his views of religion through the lens of science. Since reading a number of books on the topic, I have become very interested in the balancing the known with the unknown. How does one who is scientific, rational, logical view religion and god? Einstein dealt with this topic a great deal as well as others whom I have read detailing the specifics about God’s role in mathematics. It was yesterday that these ideas came back to me. I never did resolve my own views, and here I was being confronted about this very topic. A topic, which I thought, was so esoteric and off the radar that only I would think of such things on a semi-normal basis. Its quite possible that the stranger was approaching the subject from a totally different perspective or angle, and I interpreted it through my scientific-background perspective. I guess it is time to get back to these questions and reflect on my views about the world and life.
It is also appropriate and ironic that during the last few weeks I have been reading a book focused around a spiritual awakening of a mother and daughter. Each is on a quest for greater meaning and their true calling in life. I spent lunch and part of the after noon reading this novel which culminated in a reawakening of these same and similar thoughts in me. On the same day, similar themes have surfaced in the novel as did in my conversation with the stranger. What a weird coincidence! Or was it?