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 travelling 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 sill 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.
Robert J. Hastings
About Robert J. Hastings
In addition to being an author, Robert J. Hastings was a Baptist Pastor and very involved in the Illinois Baptist community. Born in in the mid 1920’s, he grew up through the Depression. Hastings died in Springfield Ill on Jan 17th, 1997 at the age of 72.
He had authored more than 15 books, including “A Nickel’s Worth of Skim Milk” about his boyhood in southern Illinois during the Depression, which received an Illinois State Historical Society award of merit in 1973; a 160-page manual, “How I Write;” “Tinyburg Tales” and “Tinyburg Revisited;” and, most recently, “Samuel: The Amish Boy Who Lived,” about an Amish couple’s eight-week beside vigil at their critically injured son’s bedside.
Hastings once reflected “I simply tell some of the things I have learned from experience, and do so in a fun sort of way.”