Monday, March 2, 2009

the station

I just saw a quote on Twitter that inspired me so I'm going to get a little sappy on you and share something personal...

See, I just celebrated my second year anniversary as a stay at home mom. Leaving a dream job was probably one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. During the few weeks that I was pondering what to do a friend & co-worker brought me a photocopy of this article. It was posted on the “quote board” in her building.

It is a copy of an old 1987 LA Times newspaper article written by Robert J. Hastings. It was sent in to the office by a woman that I never knew. Her husband worked with us for several years. He died of a heart attack while with his teenage son in a ski line at Lake Tahoe about six months earlier. He was in his late 40’s. His wife found this article in his wallet after he died and felt compelled to share it with the office. It is part of the reason that I have spent the last two years at home with my glorious children & it continues to inspire me even today...

Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long trip that spans the continent. We are traveling by train. 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 flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village halls.

But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. On a certain day at a certain hour we will pull into the station. Bands will be playing and flags waving. Once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true and the pieces of our lives will fit together like a completed 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. “When I’m 18.” “When I buy a new 450SL Mercedes-Benz!” “When I put the last kid through college.” “When I have paid off the mortgage!” “When I get a promotion.” When I reach the age of retirement, I shall live happily ever after!”

Sooner or later we must realize there is no 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.

“Relish the moment” is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24:”This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad. It is the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today.

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

(I particularly like the ice cream part.)

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