Articles

At the Train Station, Ready to Depart

The funniest conversation took place a few weeks ago when a good friend and I were chatting via text.

During a rather challenging week for both of us, I ended the text with, “I’m at the station waiting for the train to arrive…chocolate bar in hand.”

A few minutes later, my friend texted me back asking where I was going?

I was confused. Then I realized I hadn’t ever shared that joke with her before.

This whole “waiting at the train station…” scenario is a running joke with a different friend and we use it when we’re feeling undone, overwhelmed, ready to get out, move on, or whatever.

I had to chuckle and then explain that I wasn’t literally going anywhere by train…but I probably did have a chocolate bar close by.

So why the train and chocolate scenario?

Aslan…Chronicles of Narnia…that far away land…you know — those terrific children’s books where the four siblings actually do leave the dangerous city to escape the war and sit down at the train station (and if memory serves…they have snacks in hand.) For whatever reason, this particular point in their story has always stuck with me.

I find it comforting that their parents cared enough to get them out of harms’ way. That these four children were traveling together and looked out for each other (for the most part.) And that an elderly country gentleman was generous enough to take them in and provide for their needs even though he was a stranger to them.

It all speaks of provision arising from unexpected places and people.

All this fictional traveling to foreign cities and lands is especially on my mind since my son leaves in the morning for a seven week-long work-study program in Europe through his architectural college.

Having traveled overseas several times in my life…I am so excited for him on so many levels. I am also a mom.

I wish everyone could go somewhere outside of the U.S. just to see how different cultures live, how they make a living, how they eat/drink, what they do for leisure, and how their uniqueness forms their worldviews.

Though it’s been four years since I traveled beyond the U.S. borders I still have some vivid memories (good and not so good….just like life here at home.)

And when I start to forget a specific event, I pull out one of the journals I took with me and begin thumbing through its pages…because we never can remember accurately without a little help from outside sources.

As I recall people, places, and events…I also re-experience the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings too. Remembering past experiences as it actually happened can be a powerful elixir for soothing the trials of today.

But since we can’t step back in time (or time travel to a different place) we have to mentally take comfort in those good gifts of yesterday (or of a different time/place) and allow what we took away from those rich experiences to deepen our capacity for appreciating the moment (and the place) we’re at today.

Because honestly, we’re always coming or going, so we might as well make the most of whatever spot our feet are planted on right now. I believe that’s a timeless, placeless gift called contentment.

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