Rules for catching your morning train and other life situations

Tuesday morning I was convinced that the universe was conspiring against me on my way to the train station. I had plenty of time to make the drive to the train but as I came out of the house I saw that I had to do the 'car shuffle' to extricate my vehicle from the driveway.  The fog in the area was bad, compounded only by a very slow moving car looking for a turn and a herd of deer making their way across the street without any thought to my situation.

On the drive to the train there are nine streetlights - all red. Not just red - they turned red as I approached. A car blocked the entrance to the daily parking and the ticket machines were acting up. The gentleman in front of me had no luck with one machine and had to try another.  Luckily my credit card worked.  I was already resigned to missing the train which I could see in the station.  I still had to purchase my train tickets as my stash of one-ways had run out. I don't know what prompted me, but I said as much out loud. The same man overheard me and handed me a ticket and we sprinted to the train covering the eighth of a mile more quickly than I thought would be possible for me.

We sat together and I introduced myself to Carick (Garrick) who explained that he just happened to have a stash of one-way tickets that were left over since he changed to a monthly pass. I thanked him profusely.

I am not a big believer in 'fate' or predestination. I believe in free will. I also believe that in our lives there are 'teaching moments' that we need to pay attention to. This morning was filled with them.

Here is a bit of what I took away from my morning:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

— Philippians 4:6-7
  1. Don't cut it so close. I know exactly how long it takes to get to the parking lot  in the morning. Why do I put myself into a situation where any little burr in the gear can derail the entire trip? Leave early. It would certainly have reduced my stress considerably if I had left five minutes earlier.
  2. Plan for the unknown. This one's a little harder - and very similar to number one. Have I seen deer on my way before? Of course. Have I been behind a school bus? Yup.  Have I forgotten my tickets? You know it. The 'extra' five minutes doesn't seem like a luxury when looking at it - it's a necessity.
  3. There are miracles that happen.  Can the kindness of a stranger be classified as a 'miracle'? I don't think the Vatican would accept the gift of a train ticket as counting towards sainthood but to me, this morning, when I was feeling stressed out by just having to go into NY, it was. The ticket itself was not important, it was the simple gift of it by Carick that meant so much.
  4. Don't stress over what you can't control.  I know this. I try to live it but I sometimes forget. There are things in this life that we need to stress over, things that we can control. I could control when I left the house but stoplights, deer and fog were beyond my control.  What would it mean if I missed my train? A wait of 25 minutes and another train going to the same place. Is the fate of the industrialized world dependent on me getting into the office at 8:30am? Will economies collapse? Umm...no. Don't stress over what you can't control.

Sometimes it takes missing your train to put things into perspective. For me, today, it took actually catching the train to recognize just how blessed I am.  Looking back I didn't marvel at how the fog hung low on the fields.  I wasn't aware of the power of a mother's love as the doe stood in the street blocking traffic so the herd could cross safely.  I didn't take the time to wonder, as I do now, what was important to the driver this morning as they searched for their destination. I got nothing for the cavalcade of red lights but three out of four isn't too bad.

Thanks Carick, your gift means more than you know.  I hope that today I can pay it forward.

Peace friends,

Bob

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

— 1 Peter 5:7