This is one of my favorite essays. (Yeah I have favorite poems and essays….)
There was a time in my life when I was just so focused on “what’s next” “when I get the chance to …” “when this happens I’ll….” that I forgot to just enjoy the journey.
After cancer, I now make a point to always enjoy the journey.
I’ve been getting a lot of emails from coaching clients and friends that all sound the same — “When this happens I’ll be able to …. when that happens I’ll….”
I can remember being like that. Always looking forward. When..When..When…
Rachel gave me this poem shortly after we had started dating. 19 years later it still hangs on my office wall:
By Robert Hastings
Tucked away in our subconscious minds is a vision- 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 row upon row of cotton and corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of city skyline 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 pull into the station with bells ringing, flags waving, and bands playing. And once that day comes, our lives will fit together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. So, restlessly, we pace the aisles, and count the miles, peering ahead, cursing the minutes for loitering, waiting, waiting, for the station,,
“Yes, when we reach the station that will be it,” we cry. “When we’re eighteen! When we buy that new 450 SL Mercedes! When we put the last kid through college! When we win that promotion! When we pay off the mortgage! When we retire! Yes, from that day on, like the hero and heroines of a child’s fairy tale, we will live happily ever after.
Sooner or later, however, we must realize there is no station, no one 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 history; tomorrow belongs to God. Yesterday’s a fading sunset; tomorrow a faint sunrise. So, shut the door on yesterday and throw the key away, for only today is there light enough to live and love. It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad. Rather, it’s regret over yesterday and fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are the twin thieves who rob us of that Golden Treasure we call today, this tiny strip of light between the two nights.
“Relish the moment” is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24, “This is a day 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 more 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.