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The True Joy of Life is the Trip

alice124's picture
alice124
Posts: 860
Joined: Mar 2012

Many years ago this was introduced to me by my boss. I loved it at the time and still do. Of course, it is now more relevant than ever. Many of you -- Fox, Tex, Gary, and Liz --seem to integrate this thinking into their everyday thinking, but I sometimes need a reminder. Thought others might find it worthy too. Enjoy.

______________________________________

THE STATION

By Robert J. Hastings

TUCKED AWAY in our subconscious minds is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long, long trip that almost spans the continent. We're traveling by passenger train, and out the windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village halls, of biting winter and blazing summer and cavorting spring and docile fall.

But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. On a certain day at a certain hour we will pull into the station. There will be bands playing and flags waving. And once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true. So many wishes will be fulfilled and so many pieces of our lives finally will be neatly fitted together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. How restlessly we pace the aisles, damming the minutes for loitering, waiting, waiting, waiting for the station.

However, sooner or later we must realize there is no one station, no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly outdistances us.

When we get to the station that will be it!" we cry. Translated it means, "When I'm 18 that will be it! When I buy a new 450 SL Mercedes Benz, that will be it! When I put the last kid through college that will be it! When I have paid off the mortgage that will be it! When I win a promotion that will be it! When I reach the age of retirement that will be it! I shall live happily ever after!"

Unfortunately, once we get "it," then "it" disappears. The station somehow hides itself at the end of an endless track.

"Relish the moment" is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24: "This is the day which the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it." It isn't the burdens of today that drive men mad. Rather, it is regret over yesterday or fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who would rob us of today.

So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more and cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. The station will come soon enough.

______________________________________________________

(This version of "The Station" made its first debut in Ann Landers' Column on May 17, 1981.)

"Dear Ann Landers: I wrote a little essay that appeared in the Illinois Baptist and I am sending it to you with permission to share it with your readers if you wish." Robert J. Hastings, Editor.

About the Author

Official Website of THE STATION essay by USA Author Robert J. Hastings. Copyright (c) 1980 held by the Robert J. Hastings Estate. Illustration by A.B. Mifflin. All text and contents of this website are Intellectual Property protected by U.S. Copyright Law and web hosting guidelines and agreements. The Station essay shall not be copied, reproduced, or disseminated in any format, electronic or otherwise, or used in lecture series, seminars, and live performance by commercial entities, nor translated into any other language without the express written permission of the Robert J. Hastings Estate, except for personal use only.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 2012

ourfriendjohn's picture
ourfriendjohn
Posts: 72
Joined: Jun 2012

I appreciate you sharing that Alice. It is a good reminder that the journey is the journey. I have really tried to adopt the attitude of "Carpe Diem", seizing the day, so much more since my cancer diagnosis and feel fortunate to have found this group. I consider all of you as friends as well as fellow passengers on this trip. We need to make sure we point out the interesting sights to each other along the way.

John

alice124's picture
alice124
Posts: 860
Joined: Mar 2012

Glad you enjoyed it John. I also welcome you to this group even though I wish there was no need for anyone to be a member of this group. But since that just isn't the case, it's good to have each others inspirational tidbits and virtual shoulders on which to lean.

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 1920
Joined: Oct 2011

Good post Alice. You've got my number. That is how I approach this process.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Alice, does John know Fox has given you his number? - got to watch these old Harley uns!

More seriously, your sharing "the Station" encourages me to offer a passage from a book I'm currently reading - Mindfulness by Mark Williams (Professor of Clinical Psychology at Oxford) and Danny Williams (who has a doctorate in Biochemistry)- a book in the still burgeoning field of cognitive therapy. It addresses the "carpe diem" theme and, I guess, is designed to help those of us who have difficulty grasping it and who fear reaching our deathbeds with the final review of our lives being "What was that all about?".

It's a beautifully written book and the following passage struck me with some force:

"Picture yourself on a suburban hilltop in the rain and looking across a grey cityscape. It could be the town you grew up in or the one where you now live. In the rain it seems cold and inhospitable. The buuildings look tattered and old. The streets are clogged with traffic and everyone seems miserable and bad tempered. Then something miraculous happens. The clouds part and the sun comes streaming through. The whole world is transformed in an instant. The windows of the buildings turn to gold. Grey concrete turns to burnished bronze. The streets look shiny and clean. A rainbow appears. The mucky river becomes an exotic, glistening serpent threading its way through the city. For one fabulous moment, everything seems to stop; your breathing, your heart, your mind, the birds in the sky, the traffic in the streets, time itself. All seem to pause to take in the transformation.

Such beautiful and unexpected changes in perspective have a dramatic effect .... But what's truly remarkable about them is that very little actually changes .... you simply see the world in a different light. Nothing more."

garym's picture
garym
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

A friend sent me this recently, thought this thread would be a good place to share:

Someone has written these beautiful words. One must read to understand the deep meanings in them. They are like the Ten Commandments to follow in life all the time.

1] Prayer is not a "spare wheel" that you pull out when in trouble; it is a "steering wheel" that directs us in the right path throughout life.

2] Do you know why a car's WINDSHIELD is so large & the rear view mirror is so small? Because our PAST is not as important as our FUTURE. So, look ahead and move on.

3] Friendship is like a BOOK. It takes few seconds to burn, but it takes years to write.

4] All things in life are temporary. If going well enjoy it, they will not last forever. If going wrong don’t worry, they can't last long either.

5] Old friends are like Gold! New friends are Diamonds! If you get a Diamond, don't forget the Gold! Because to hold a Diamond, you always need a base of Gold!

6] Often when we lose hope and think this is the end, GOD smiles from above and says, "Relax, sweetheart, it's just a bend, not the end!

7] When GOD solves your problems, you have faith in HIS abilities; when GOD doesn't solve your problems HE has faith in your abilities.

8] A blind person asked St. Anthony: "Can there be anything worse than losing eye sight?" He replied: "Yes, losing your vision."

9] When you pray for others, God listens to you and blesses them; and sometimes, when you are safe and happy, remember that someone has prayed for you.

10] WORRYING does not take away tomorrow's TROUBLES; it takes away today’s PEACE.

alice124's picture
alice124
Posts: 860
Joined: Mar 2012

Love it Gary. Thank you for sharing. It's a toss-up on which list is my favorite--this one or eight thoughts to ponder. Personally love "Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in the hospitals, dying of nothing." I plan on using that line anytime I need an excuse not to go to the gym.

garym's picture
garym
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

"Beginnings are scary and endings are usually sad,
but it's the middle that counts the most"
Laugh when you can, apologize when you should,
and let go of what you can't change, Play hard, forgive
quickly, take chances, give everything and have NO regrets
....Life is too short to be anything but happy!

ourfriendjohn's picture
ourfriendjohn
Posts: 72
Joined: Jun 2012

Gary,
I'm going to have to write that down and carry it with me as a reminder. It really hits the nail on the head. You have probably seen the verse by Florence Ondré (I think)that reads:

“Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the
intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well
preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways,
chocolate in one hand, champagne in the other, body
thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming
“WOO HOO what a ride!”

Please keep up the fine writing.
John

garym's picture
garym
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi John,

I am familiar with the verse and have a similar biker's version on one of my favorite T-shirts.

Gary

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Glad you said that Gary because I thought it was pure Fox!

Not being familiar with the writer, I investigated briefly and found a nice expansion of the theme by a highly articulate former fashion model (I thought it could have been written by Jennifer Saunders - "Ab Fab" - it elicited images of Eddie Monsoon and Patsy).

http://eflorence.wordpress.com/2007/01/03/%E2%80%9Csliding-homewoo-hoo-what-a-ride%E2%80%9D/

It captures a lot of the spirit of the enlightenment some of us have experienced thanks to RCC.

garym's picture
garym
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

T,

Thanks for the link, I found it interesting though in my circle "You look like hell!" is considered a compliment on most occasions.

Haven't seen an update on how have you been doing? Do I recall a post about concerns over enlarged lymph nodes or am I mistaken. Don't mean to push, just wondering is all.

Gary

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

You're fully up to date Gary. Against the resting monitor of my extended PC screen (iMac off-limits while other half gets round to re-doing OS upgrade to Lion and attendant house-keeping :( - having to make do with Windows 7 meantime - how I loathe Microsoft!), is a letter about my next clinic appointment, 2 weeks from today, when we'll discuss the putative significance of one or two slightly enlarged retroperitoneal lymph nodes.

My multidisciplinary care team seems to have a habitually optimistic take on my situation which sits oddly with the constellation of the worst of all possible diagnostic features, relieved only by the absence, so far, of any apparent mets. Key seems to be whether second tumour was just a 'satellite', too small to be detected during first op (nephrectomy)and whether the nodes we're watching are uninfected OR turn out to represent regional spread.

The fact that I can comfortably play 36 holes in a day, despite being way below my normal fitness, look and feel perfectly well and have excellent appetite and sleep may suggest that it's not just wishful-thinking, but who knows? I'm not on any form of treatment, not on any sort of meds and BP sits around 120/80 (though it shows wild fluctuations at times - a matter I'm attempting to study) which all seems to augur well (bearing in mind I'm almost 70). I'm just about to go and do a 10 K rowing session and, in any case, had better button my lip now for fear you'll regret asking me for news!

garym's picture
garym
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

Thanks for the update my friend, and you need never worry about regrets from me.

I had 3 birdies and 2 bogies in my league last night (9 holes), just when the game was becoming impossible the golf Gods set the hook and reeled me back in.

Have a good row,

Gary

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Great going Gary! I wish my golf were that good currently. Inter-club match yesterday was washed out as the greens became flooded - our weather this year couldn't be much more different from yours. It's 53 F here now, at 6:30 p.m.

Just finished my rowing session so off to take a nice hot bath. Playing Carnoustie again in the morning so hoping for something more like Michigan weather! I hope it's good for Fox's trip.

alice124's picture
alice124
Posts: 860
Joined: Mar 2012

Tex.
What a beautifully written paragraph. I love writings that create cerebral images right from the start. You not only feel the transformation in the description at hand but your brain seems to instantaneously go to your own memory bank where you recall a similar experience, one which you may have temporarily forgotten.

In fact, after reading the paragraph, it triggered something in my brain, a like experience that I feel but can’t bring forward. I know my mind wants to remember but is blocked for some reason. It’s making me feel a little strange; it’s like trying to recall a well known name that’s inexplicably blocked times a thousand. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s healthy that this single paragraph has set my brain recall button in motion, I just don’t know why at the moment. I know this is probably making no sense to anyone but me, so let me move on.

I’m going to look for the book. Thanks for sharing.

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 1920
Joined: Oct 2011

I'm sliding in full speed with a cloud of dust and all used up....Well I want to anyway. I'll do my best to not be laying on the couch watching Springer. If my golf game was as good as you guys', I might not be riding as often. Alice, maybe you feel the recall button being pushed because it is like a non-denominational (sp) prayer. At least I feel that way with the biker version.

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