How busy are you right now? According to the radio, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. I’m not so sure that I agree. December, for me, is one to-do list after another, both personally and professionally. I can’t wait for the fresh start of the new year so I can leave this year behind. I keep looking to the future because I know it will be better, but in keeping my focus way out in front, I’m missing out on the present.
As I was preparing to write this post, “The Station” by Robert Hastings kept popping into my mind. I first heard this poem from Jeff when we were teaching on Leading Yourself. I read it often when life is especially difficult and I find myself focused only on making it through to the next phase. I want to share “The Station” with you today as a reminder to savor each day—this day won’t come again. I hope you’ll take a moment to get comfortable, turn off your phone, and read “The Station.” If it hits you hard, write down what it’s stirring up in you and perhaps reflect on those words.
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.
Right now, I’m choosing to live in this moment. I don’t want fear to rob me of the simple pleasures of today. I hope this post helps you do the same.