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A favorite short essay..."The Station" ... by Robert Hastings.

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Stuart G Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-28-08 12:29 PM
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A favorite short essay..."The Station" ... by Robert Hastings.
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 hills, 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, damning 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 reach 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 oftener, 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.
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soleft Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-28-08 02:24 PM
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1. That is a short essay
It's a classic, universal theme.

If I look at all the problems we face and create for ourselves, one of the biggest underlying causes I believe is a fear of death. It causes us to be over protective, over defensive, tying to hold onto things that cannot be held.

I once read that one of the problems of being human is that we possess the consciousness of the gods, and yet at the same time, we're worm food. It's quite a dilemma.

I don't know of anything that can effectively assuage the fear of death, but it seems to me that probably the only thing that can ease the terror is to live in the here and now. Don't worry about the past, don't worry about the future, - be fully engaged in the moment in whatever you're doing - in other words - live - and then there's simply no time to think about death.

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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-28-08 02:43 PM
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2. Never heard that one before, but it's a keeper.
"one of the problems of being human is that we possess the consciousness of the gods, and yet at the same time, we're worm food."
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Stuart G Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-28-08 05:22 PM
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3. I agree.
Fear destroys. When we are frightened to live, to strive for something beyond our protective nature, if we isolate the opportunity to grow, because we not only fear death, but we fear change, we can slowly waste away. Reaching out beyond that fear is indeed one of our greatest challenges. For me, it is a daily struggle to deal with my own fears, and to try to see more than them.
As you said, the past is as much a prison, as the fear of death. Living today is an answer, for today is really all we have.
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