Inspired by Bruce Springsteen’s song, Land of Hope and Dreams.
We’re all riders on a train pulling a light or heavy load thorough our life’s journey. The choices we make determine the weight of our load and many folks discover they must lighten their weight when confronted with tough times.
John Anthony Marin, my key rider, willingly disembarked when I struggled with the direction of my train in 1978, but eventually, I circled back to find him patiently waiting for me. He boarded my train again and together we rolled through the fields of life where sunshine streamed, and we set a new destination; a land of hope and dreams.
My sister-in-laws, Lora, Marcia and Cindy were passengers on my train and sat next to us for as long as fate allowed. When each sister pulled the cord to stop the train, to depart at their appropriate time, my emotions ran high, and I felt their departure was much too soon in my journey. Though their lives were short and poignant, they were no less important to me.
As my journey unfolded, other key passengers, Keith and Vanessa, boarded my train, enriched my life, and encouraged my train to forge ahead into the unknown. My train was mindful of the people it carried as they were a precious cargo and deserved the comfort and safety of the ride.
There were times during my journey that my train hurled down deep, dark ravines and thought not to have the strength to build up the steam to climb out. My faith in a higher power fueled my train, and I traveled in and out of those dark tunnels with hope as my guiding light.
Through the trials and tribulations in my life, I learned it is not the destination but the journey that is significant. The destination, the end of my journey, would come soon enough, so I slowed the pace of my train to enjoy the passengers, smell the roses, sit in silence, learn patience, enjoy the landscape, pray, meditate and reflect on my life.
The stops on my life’s journey became longer so I could enjoy, explore and appreciate each place, as they were unique and hold a beauty and wisdom of their own. Every stop had purpose, filled a need, taught a lesson, and since I don’t believe in coincidences, when the stop seemed to have no rationale, its significance became apparent to me over time.
My train waited patiently at stops and watched for those who had fallen behind, and I assisted those struggling to board my train. Delaying my train’s departure for those passengers was essential, as they added joy to my journey and they shared the wisdom acquired during their travels.
My train has traveled through the seasons of my life at a steady pace and as passengers entered and exited my train, I came to understand the word “forgiveness and acceptance”. During the Fall of my life, my train has taken long relaxing breaks from its journey, and parked under the awning of peace and tranquility.
John Anthony Marin, my soul mate, has been my companion on my train for 36 years and we have left behind our sorrows, and traveled through the darkness together into the light. Our train sounded the bell of freedom on January 8th, 2016; John’s test for HD was negative, and we will continue on our journey into the Winter of our lives.
The human condition encompasses both peace and turmoil; they are interwoven. Conflict, sadness, regret, fear and other emotions challenged me and I have learned peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it. The relationships I had with my passengers, those who are still on my train and those sweet souls departed, still resonate within me, soothe my spirit, and personal growth and development flourished within me.
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