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April 29, 2003

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 flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling 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 completed jigsaw puzzle. How restlessly we pace the aisles, damning the minutes for loitering ... waiting, waiting, waiting, for the station.

However, 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.

"When we reach the station, that will be it !" we cry. Translated it means, "When I'm 18, that will be it ! When I buy a new 450 SL 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, that will be it ! When I win a promotion, that will be it ! When I reach the age of retirement, 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.

"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. Rather, it is 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, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more and cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. The station will come soon enough.

All Rights Reserved
Robert J. Hastings Estate

Which one of us doesn't wonder if life wouldn't have been better if we had turned left instead of right? If I had only married Sue instead of Jill! Tom instead of Alex! If I had only gotten that degree in Accounting... If only I could start all over again knowing what I know now -- I'd surely do it better than I did this time around.

My dad used to say, "If 'ifs' and 'buts' were candies and nuts, then we'd all have a merry Christmas." Alas, reality will never measure up to the fantasy of "what might have been." Life is full of choices and it's complicated. Events happen which we have little or no control over, some good and some bad. Choices cannot be avoided, and mistakes will be made. The point is not to dwell on them, but to pick yourself up and move forward. -- a greater failure would be to live a life without risks or to sit inside all day and wonder what could have been.

The joy of life is the journey. Every year is new, every day a new chance to begin again.

Youíve got to sing, like you donít need the money.
Love, like youíve never been hurt.
Youíve got to dance, like nobodyís watching.
Itís got to come from the heart if you want it to work.

Posted by mjwoods at April 29, 2003 10:16 PM

 
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