I’m not sure if it’s because we’ve been watching some gorgeous English documentaries about train travel, but recently I woke up thinking how similar a train journey is to our discovering our calling, becoming comfortable in our own skin and simply just arriving at the stage where we can say the we love ourselves, including those parts we have found a challenge to love in the past.
You see, I think of the ‘passengers’ that enter and exit a train as our thoughts and the people who enter our lives …some climb aboard, stay for a single stop, or a few stops, and then depart, leaving us with only memories, experiences and their spirit…while some will stay aboard for the entire journey.
Sometimes, we can feel like we are stationary, like the train at a stop, and it can feel like we are there forever, as we peer outside at life passing us by… …as if we are by-standers in a life that’s not entirely of our making. We easily forget during these times that the engine is always running, ready to proceed towards our destination as soon as the new ‘passengers’ have begun the journey with us, and the ‘passengers’ who don’t further require our services have alighted.
There are days when we are flying with the wind in our hair, taking in the beauty that surrounds us, charging over beautiful old fashioned bridges with a view as far as the eye can see, all the while gathering momentum to sustain us between the stations.
From time to time, when we are busy thinking of other things, we jump on the ‘wrong’ train, but it becomes the gateway to an entirely new way of seeing the world…so in reality, there can rarely be a ‘wrong train’. We are able to change trains at the next stop should be still choose to, and continue on the journey we anticipated all along; but now we have seen a different route…and a seed is planted.
When we have no preconceived idea of what the destination may look like, this can often become our greatest journey of discovery, consisting of new worlds that hold our fascination and allow us to be fully present in the moment, brimming with wonder and awe.
Other days, the train trip becomes so predictable. We can still find beauty in these trips because of the comfort found in routine, and the familiar ‘passengers’ who commute alongside us. We feel safe there with them by our side…
And of course, there’s the good old express train…it seems to have it all worked out, with its correct combination and amount of ‘passengers’ to enable the journey to take place. It speeds through the stations, without stopping, not collecting those ‘passengers’ waiting to board, content with its fill for the moment. Meanwhile, our train is battling the rush hour ‘passengers’, and taking forever to reach its destination, stopping at every station. It seems like we will never make it to central station. Sometimes, just sometimes, we wish we could be the express train…
Occasionally, because many lines converge onto a central point, we must wait out in the rail yards. Patience is required while the train whose turn it is to arrive next at the central station has their moment. The trains have learnt to accept that they cannot all arrive at the central station at the same time. Some trains are slower, some have engine troubles, some signals are unreliable and the journey may become hampered, as too the lines become hampered with trees or other debris. But the point being there’s a time for all the trains to arrive safely and on time, with each one sturdy in its purpose to simply follow their own line and timetable. Naturally, they carry varied ‘passengers’ with many stories of their own, all with a set purpose, and the trains come from far and wide.
Finally, the signal is given for us to enter the tunnel and approach the central station…
We notice that there are lights shining to show us the way ahead…they emanate from the train. As well as this, the inside of the train seems to have become brighter, even as it’s enclosed by a dark tunnel…now we cannot see outside, only reflections of what’s taking place inside, as we gaze towards the windows. It’s during this time that we observe our companion ‘passengers’. They become more vibrant and we notice more. This affords us the time to really look at them…to take everything in, discover how they may teach us, merely by their presence.
All these lights have been shining the entire time, but until we entered the darkness, we weren’t able to see that we were the source for creating our own light. It’s so easy to forget this and we need reminding from time to time… but they were always there throughout the entire journey.
The last task on this train’s journey is cleaning, washing the windows and decluttering…but it cannot be done with passengers on board…it must be an empty train for the cleaners to enter and make the space comfortable for the new arrivals…again, some will stay for only a while… some will remain for the entirety. And thus, a new train journey commences, emerging from the dark tunnel, replete with new ‘passengers’ brimming with vitality and vigour, anticipating new adventure, and surrounded by beautiful scenery. The train is overwhelmed by its awareness that it created its own light, that it was always present, but not always easy to see. And grateful for the dark tunnel to highlight this awareness.
This time, it will remember…it has evolved…and sees its light leading the way for others, but above all, for itself first.
I do hope you enjoyed this little analogy that came to me, and my wish is for you to remember you are a bright light, that you are always being looked after and guided, even when the train is crowded and stationary. The dark times can deliver you the brightest light…and there is a time for us all to pull into central station, as we cheer on other trains from the sidelines while we wait our turn.
May you all be blessed wherever you are in your journey.