The part of life we really live is small. For all the rest of existence is not life, but merely time.
So today was my day off this week, and I spent part of the morning watching ER. I don't actually have TV at home, so when I'm away, living out of a hotel room, the novelty gets the better of me sometimes. Anyway, so I'm watching ER, and the thought came to me that yes, the heart wrenching decisions you see on a show like that are made, every day, in a hospital. But what they don't show you is the fact that sometimes, you don't even notice they are being made. There is humor and tragedy all around, but like the rest of life, if you aren't paying attention, it will pass right by you.
I think the most important moments of our lives often occur without a second thought. We don't always see them coming, and we don't necessarily notice while they are happening. It is only afterward, looking back, that we notice, and either exult or regret. Families don't think about living wills until after their loved one is comatose, and then they argue in the ICU over what is to be done. Mothers think two children is enough, and then, five years later with a new husband, listen with tears in their eyes as they are told the tubal ligation reversal didn't work, and that is all the children of their own they'll ever have.
I used to think (and maybe still do, in my conceit) that working where I do throws life into harsh perspective. That it makes each decision about life or death, and therefore more meaningful. But I'm becoming convinced, oddly enough sitting on a cheap mattress in a hotel room watching a mass market drama, that this is just life, and the perspective is what makes it meaningful.