Many years ago, when Nick, my oldest son was small, he suffered from a recurring kidney infection, which often necessitated him going into hospital for tests.
On one of these occasion, after delivering him to the ward, I got into a lift with a man in a dressing gown, who was clearly a patient.
He and I got chatting as one does in a lift, and he told me that he had just had a kidney transplant. Now, this was in the days when kidney transplants were in their infancy, and something one only read about in the paper.
I was in awe of this man, he was so cheerful and positive,I would never have guessed he had undergone something so enormous, because it didn’t show.
I found myself frightened to go too near him in case I knocked into him, or of the lift jolting or him falling or getting banged.
In that lift, I felt acutely aware of the fragility of life, how easily we can inadvertently knock into someone who is recovering from something we don’t know about and that doesn’t show.
It is a lesson I should have remembered, but like all other lessons, they fade into the background until something reminds me.
I guess the lesson for me must be that EVERYONE is struggling with something, and we should try not to bang into them or knock them in any way, I know how thin that tightrope they are walking may be.