The train pulls in; Married Life.
We hop aboard, waving smilingly at our friends left standing at the station. We settle in, their blessings ringing in our ears. “Have a safe trip! Hope to see you soon…” The train pulls away. Some minor bumps and then we’re off, enjoying the ride. Slowly, a steady stream of passengers joins our carriage. We welcome them on and journey forward together. “We’ll be off soon,” we say. “In the meantime, enjoy the ride!” Time passes, sceneries change.
“Next stop; Parenthood!” We grab our bags, happily making our way to the door.
“Read your ticket, sir,” says the attendant. “This stop is not yours.” We shrug, sit down, scan our ticket stubs, trying to make out the fine print (who can tell what they say anyway?) and settle back in.
It’s quieter now in our cart, in a peaceful sort of way. We make small chit-chat, pass the time and, once again, prepare to disembark. We have a different train to make, after all, and quite some catching up to do. But it’s not our stop either. And neither is the next. Or the next. Or the next… Our carriage feels empty now, our friends at the station all having joined us and left. We look around and nod shyly at those remaining with us. (“I don’t even know them,” I say!) We didn’t choose this route—not at all—but we do what me must; we’ll stick it out. Our stop must be coming next in any case, we’re sure.
The train speeds on, night approaching fast. Are we moving forward or backward? It’s hard to tell, as the stop we thought was ours recedes further into the distance. Have we missed our connection? We look back longingly, and turn to face what’s up ahead. But the window is foggy, our vision—dim. The future…? We clutch our bags, so inadequately packed for this journey.
A tap on our back.
“Would you like to sit with us?”
Yes. No! Yes…
“We don’t belong here,” we say. “We simply missed our stop. Do you know how to get back?”
They shake their heads sadly. “Yes, we know…”
It’s dark now, and cold too.
“Please, please, can anyone help us? We missed our stop!”
Suddenly, there’s a gentle laugh. “I’m afraid that’s not possible,” says an unfamiliar face with a smile. “The Conductor never makes a mistake.”
Really? Really! I let those words play in my mind—there are no mistakes. There are none. How can that be? But it’s true, I know. I sit down. Reopen my bags, think creatively, dust off old tools and reinvent them. I smile at the person next to me, pull the window shade back a touch. The air is cold but invigorating, far from a sunny dream… Finally, I turn my watch to face my wrist. My husband laughs and does the same. There are no mistakes. I sit back and refocus. It’s time to learn how to enjoy the ride.
With Special Thanks to Devoiry from the ATime Magazine for editing this post! 🙂