The skilled nursing facility where Mom lives these days has the slowest elevators I have ever experienced. They are s—l—o—w. I mean really, really, really slow. They’re slow to arrive when called. The doors are slow to open and even slower to close.
During a recent visit, as I waited for the elevator down, I noticed a woman I don’t recall seeing before. She moved with the aid of a walker, her posture erect, her gait steady. She was beautifully dressed, wearing white pants, a black and white top, earrings and just the right shade of pink/red lipstick. She looked lovely. I told her so, as she arrived at the elevator bank. “You look beautiful today.”
She smiled and shrugged her shoulders, laughing lightly. “Oh, thank you. You know, I’m 99 years old.”
I could hardly believe my ears and eyes. She looked great for 80, but at 99 she was fabulous. “I don’t know what I expect 99 to look like, but you look great to me.”
Just then, the elevator doors opened. I scurried in quickly, moving to the back wall, out of her way. She said, “Be careful honey. These elevators doors close very fast. They’re dangerous.”
I laughed to myself, fascinated by her experience of the doors, contrasting it against my own.
My brief encounter with this beautiful 99-year-old woman had reminded me that there are so few objective, solid facts in life. Reality is subjective, and most things we call facts are really fake facts. They’re Illusions, a personal story born out of a perspective at a given point in time and subject to change as points of reference change.
I want to remember this lesson the next time I’m convinced that how I see things is the right way – the only way. In so doing, I believe I’ll be less inclined to make others wrong, discount or diminish their experience. In moments of conflict and tension – those times when there is great temptation to “prove” I’m right, they’re wrong – remembering this lesson will enable me to offer an olive branch. This lesson will help me extend peace and respect for the experiences of others…even that which, from my perspective, I don’t understand.
What fake facts are you living with?