Thursday, May 9, 2013

Life on the Train

A friend sent me a Powerpoint e-mail. It was full of neat photos and music, but the words touched me. I share them here, they are comforting words, and I thought of my late son Kevin and his life, he has left the train... 

Life on the Train

A while back, I read a very interesting book that compared life to a train ride or a series of train rides.

Life is like a train ride, it read. We get on. We ride. We get off. We get back on and ride some more. There are accidents and there are delays. At certain stops there are surprises. Some of these will translate into great moments of joy, some will result in profound sorrow.

When we are born and we first board the train, we meet people whom we think will be with us for the entire journey. Those people are our parents! Sadly, this is far from the truth. Our parents are with us for as long as we absolutely need them. They too have journeys they must complete. We live on with the memories of their love, affection, friendship, guidance and their ever presence.

There are others who board the train and who eventually become very important to us, in turn. These people are our brothers, sisters, friends and acquaintances, whom we will learn to love, and cherish.

Some people consider their journey like a jaunty tour. They will just go merrily along.

Others, will encounter many upsets, tears, losses on their journey.

Others still, will linger on to offer a helping hand to anyone in need.

Some people on the train will leave an everlasting impression when they get off….

Some will get on and get off the train so quickly, they will scarsely leave a sign that they ever travelled along with you or ever crossed your path…

We will sometimes be upset that some passengers whom we love, will choose to sit in another compartment and leave us to travel on our own. Then again, there’s nothing that says we can’t seek them out anyway.

Nevertheless, once sought out and found, we may not even be able to sit next to them because that seat will already be taken.

That’s okay …everyone’s journey will be filled with hopes, dreams, challenges, setbacks and goodbyes. We must strive to make the best of it… no matter what...

We must constantly strive to understand our travel companions and look for the best in everyone. Remember that at any moment during our journey, any one of our travel companions can have a weak moment and be in need of our help.

We too may vacilate or hesitate, even trip… hopefully we can count on someone being there to be supportive and understanding…

The bigger mystery of our journey is that we don’t know when our last stop will come. Neither do we know when our travel companions will make their last stop.

Not even those sitting in the seat next to us.

Personally, I know I’ll be sad to make my final stop…. I’m sure of it!
My separation from all those friends and acquaintances I made during the train ride will be painful. Leaving all those I’m close to will be a sad thing. But then again, I’m certain that one day I’ll get to the main station only to meet up with everone else. They’ll all be carrying their baggage… most of which they didn’t have when they first got on this train.

I’ll be glad to see them again. I’ll also be glad to have contributed to their baggage… and to have enriched their lives, just as much as they will have contributed to my baggage and enriched my life.

We’re all on this train ride together. Above all, we should all try to strive to make the ride as pleasant and memorable as we can, right up until we each make the final stop and leave the train for the last time.

All aboard!
Safe journey!!


Kevin was one of those "... people on the train will leave an everlasting impression when they get off…."

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


I may have mentioned that a tornado came through our small town.  It touched down in my neighborhood, just a few doors down from my home.  Five homes were badly damaged, and a lot of homes had roof torn up. 

Well, the homes down the street were a mess, fences gone, roofs with tarps over them,  and two homes very badly damaged. No deaths, which is very fortunate.

As I drive onto my street I go past all these homes.

Several houses now have new roofs.  Fences have been rebuilt.  Two of the homes have had contractors rebuild the interiors.  One home now has a contractor tearing it down to the studs to begin rebuilding.  Yesterday the home that had the roof torn off was demolished.  It will be rebuilt from the ground up.

It has been interesting to watch.  The night of the tornado everyone was out in the storm with chain saws, and helping hands.  We cut up trees that were down in the road, and hauled them out of the way.  Got debris cleaned up.

Lives have been disrupted.  Yet, the homes are being repaired, and rebuilt.  In a few months all the homes will be in good shape, everyone moved back in and life continues.  While some of the big trees are gone, the traces of the storm will have faded, and will be a memory.

I know, that last was a bit cliche, but it got the point across.  Life is full of set backs.  Problems arise, things rarely go as planned.  Some days I deal with the set backs better than others.  What I've watched happening down the street has helped me deal with my own set backs.

Things can be rebuilt.  Life goes on.  Staying engaged with life and striving to achieve goals helps.  Things do go bad, things do get worse.  You can let those things defeat you.

Or, you can rebuild, start over, take a deep breath and plunge in and strive to do better the next time.

It isn't easy.  Things that are worthwhile never are easy.

It is good to see the homes being rebuilt, lives returning to normal.  There is still hope.  Yes, it may be raining on my parade. Storms come, but storms don't last.  The sun does come out.

So take the set backs in stride.  Take a day or two to morn, have that pity party, feel sorry for yourself.  Then dust yourself off, and climb back up, and learn from the experience and move forward again.