In some ways, life is like a train trip. Although never taking a train from the East coast to the West coast, I have taken enough to have an idea of what is involved. Some were in Argentina, like an overnight trip Joyce and I took from Buenos Aires to Cipolletti. But, most of my train rides in Argentina were on the commuter lines in Buenos Aires. Here in the States, I have taken train trips of various lengths. Joyce had a period when she was frequently taking the train from St. Paul to Milwaukee (and back again to St. Paul) so she could help one of our daughters who had given birth to twins. At the same time Joyce was receiving chemotherapy, and I am still amazed at her fortitude and stamina as she undertook that service to and for our daughter.
But as I said at the top of this entry, life is somewhat like train trip. There is a schedule. There is a beginning and an end. You frequently meet people along the way. You can have unexpected stops and starts.
There is a significant difference, of course, between the train trip and life. When taking the train trip, you hope to arrive with the same luggage you had when you began. But, the trip of life is different.
Regardless of how the schedule of life turns out, I am forced to realize that we began with nothing, and if one lives long enough, our life ends with our having nothing. We make a full circle. What we have obtained as we grow from infancy is, as we age, slowly stripped from us – that employment that we thoroughly enjoyed slips away. Our parents who nourished us and prayed for us, and gave us some financial help have made the trip Home. A spouse makes the same trip. Our robust health of one era slowly gives way to aches, pains, and worse. The quickness and endurance that we had in sports is no more, our procreational abilities are a memory. It is the circle of life, and the wise person accepts its inevitability.
And, one day the train will pull out of the station with us on it. But, we will not be on the return trip. We will have completed the full circle. And, someone else will be sitting in the seat that we called “ours.”
“So, Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Amen.