Friday, January 23, 2009

The Station

Before I met my husband in person we began emailing one another after the prodding of a mutual friend. I asked him what his philosophy of life was and he sent me the following essay by Robert Hastings called "The Station".

Tucked away in our subconscious minds is an idyllic vision in which we see ourselves on a long journey that spans an entire continent. We're traveling by train and, from the windows, we drink in the passing scenes of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at crossings, of cattle grazing in distant pastures, of smoke pouring from power plants, of row upon row upon row of cotton and corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of city skylines and village halls.

But uppermost in our conscious minds is our final destination--for at a certain hour and on a given day, our train will finally pull into the Station with bells ringing, flags waving, and bands playing. And once that day comes, so many wonderful dreams will come true. So restlessly, we pace the aisles and count the miles, peering ahead, waiting, waiting, waiting for the Station.

"Yes, when we reach the Station, that will be it!" we promise ourselves. "When we're eighteen. . . win that promotion. . . put the last kid through college. . . buy that 450SL Mercedes-Benz. . . have a nest egg for retirement!" From that day on we will all live happily ever after.

Sooner or later, however, we must realize there is no Station in this life, no one earthly place to arrive at once and for all. The journey is the joy. The Station is an illusion--it constantly outdistances us. Yesterday's a memory, tomorrow's a dream. Yesterday belongs to a history, tomorrow belongs to God. Yesterday's a fading sunset, tomorrow's a faint sunrise. Only today is there light enough to love and live.

So, gently close the door on yesterday and throw the key away. It isn't the burdens of today that drive men mad, but rather the regret over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who would rob us of today. "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."

So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, swim more rivers, climb more mountains, kiss more babies, count more stars. Laugh more and cry less. Go barefoot oftener. Eat more ice cream. Ride more merry-go-rounds. Watch more sunsets. Life must be lived as we go along. The Station will come soon enough.

I didn't know much about Dan then, but I knew I wanted to spend my life with someone who wanted to live and love this way. I had so many painful regrets in my short 23 years and was so afraid of my future. I was just taking the first steps in my gratitude journey and this essay seemed like a road map.

Dan and I have known one another 10 years now and been married almost 8 of those years. Today as I was changing the sheets, doing laundry, emptying the dishwasher, running lists, all getting ready for my surgery on Tuesday, I kept thinking about our time together. These words were really an ideal we couldn't even understand fully when we met. Only in the past year and a half have we grown into this way of soaking in the preciousness of one another in the here and now. We have lost so many THINGS and found a freedom that comes from only carrying the weight of what truly matters.

Thank you for my Dan. Thank you for not just preserving our marriage but making it grow and flourish. Keep teaching us to rejoice and be glad in THIS day You have made.


Angie said...

Crying. Loving. Laughing. Praising. LIVING life with you dear friend. I'm so thankful for your Dan, too. :) As we both make our way to the hospitals next week, I will remember my station as you remember yours.

I do love you so.

peaceliving said...

What a beautiful analogy. It's a wonderful thing to live and love with someone who understands the idea of embracing the whole journey.

Natalie said...

I heard from Angie about your surgery on tuesday. Know that you will be in my thoughts and prayers. Thanks for sharing that reminds me of the C.S. Lewis quote: "Gratitude looks to the past, love to the future; fear, avarice, lust and ambition look to the future" I know I need to work on living in the present. May your thoughts encourage me to do so.

Melissa @ Breath of Life said...

What a beautiful essay, and tribute your husband & your marriage.

Praying things go well with your surgery.

Rochelle said...

I too am so thankful for Dan, for your love and what God has grown it into. I love you both!