Wednesday, January 23, 2008

All Aboard!

The Station
by Robert J. Hastings

Tucked away in our subconscious minds is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long, long trip that almost spans the continent. We're traveling by passenger train and out the windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat. of flat lands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village hills, of biting winter and blazing summer and cavorting spring and docile fall.

But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. On a certain day at a certain hour we will pull into the station. There will be bands playing and flags waving. And once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true; so many wishes will be fulfilled and so many pieces of our lives finally will be neatly fitted together like a complete jigsaw puzzle. How restlessly we pace the aisles, damning the minutes for loitering...waiting, waiting, waiting for the station.

'When we reach the station, that will be it, we cry.' Translated it means, 'When I'm eighteen, that will be it...when I buy a new Mercedes Benz, that will be it...when I put the last kid through college, that will be it...when I have paid off the mortgage, when I win the promotion, when I retire, that will be it...I shall live happily ever after."

Unfortunately, once we get it, then it disappears. The station somehow hides itself at the end of an endless track.

Sooner or later we must realize there is no one station; no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly outdistances us.

It isn't the burdens of today that drive men mad; rather, it is the regret over yesterday, or fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who would rob us of today.

So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot oftener, watch more sunsets, laugh more and cry less. Life must be lived as we travel along. The station will come soon enough.

11 comments:

Annie said...

Absolutely true. I find myself wishing away too much time, just waiting for the next milestone, the next station. Thanks for the reminder.

My grandfather passed away in the hospital after a long sickness. Most of his children were around him and he drifted in and out of consciousness talking to people there and not there. At the very end, guess what his final words were? "All aboard!" We loved the image of him boarding a train and going on a trip.

gab said...

Annie's comment makes me smile! That is so sweet.

I feel like I am living in a train station complete with sound effects. I need to enjoy the station and the ride!

Stie: My Favorite Things said...

I love this post! And Annie - that is such a cool story. I hope I'm ready to board that train when my time comes, too.,

You are such a living example of living in the now. I love that about you. I spend way too much time wanting the next thing.

Bridget said...

I second what everyone has said. And Annie that is such a sweet story. You must always think of him when you board a train.

It's such a great lesson to learn and I suppose one we have to keep learning everyday.

Bev said...

and along the way we should think about the journey not just the destination

maren said...

I met you at Chase's bap. I have loved visiting your site over the past few months... and have enjoyed getting to know you better. Sorry I never comment (Stie has introduced me not a whole new world... but I am not quite "in" it yet). Anyway, I just needed to take a minute to thank you for this post. It is WONDERFUL!

Sheri said...

When my children were young and we took them hiking, they always had to have a goal to keep them going. We'd tell them "It's just a short way to the lake", etc. For our daughter the carrot at the end of the stick wasn't enough! My husband continually told her, "It's not about the destination. It's about the journey. Enjoy the journey!" :)

Jessica said...

I always remember to NOT count the miles when I'm down the track a little bit...and then it's gone.

Sigh. I'll get this right one of these days!

kenju said...

AMEN and DITTO!!

Nancy G said...

Wonderful post, Marty! I really need to remind myself of this on a regular (daily?) basis.

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