We are all broken, that’s how the light gets in — Ernest Hemingway
Lately, my crazy train has been making a lot of stops and picking up a lot of passengers. It’s easy to forget that I can get off this train.
I press my face to the glass next to my seat and look out across the rolling plains. Close to the train, everything moves too fast. Fixing my eyes on the distance is the only way to travel. Or is it? I need some air.
Getting to the door at the back of the car isn’t easy. There are too many people in the aisle. As the train lurches and sways, I struggle to get my balance. There are too many distractions. Most of the people in the aisle are talking loudly. They make demands I have no interest or desire in fulfilling.
“Where do you think you’re going?” they say with a sneer.
“You think you’re too good for this train! We’ve got news for you, you aren’t. Sit down and be quiet. No one cares that you want off. Get used to it. This is life. Toughen up. Did you expect a free and easy ride? We all have it tough. You think you’re special. You’re no better than any of us.”
I choke back tears and return to my seat.
The voices in my head wonder, “Maybe they’re right. Maybe it’s wrong to want to get off.”
As I press my face to the smudged glass next to my seat, I see my reflection. The burden of clarity creates a tight hard spot in my chest. I’m free not to ride this train. Letting other’s words and opinions confine me is wrong. Accepting the limits they impose on me is wrong. Internalizing their disrespect has been devastating.
This train isn’t going anywhere I want to go. It’s full of meanness, of small mindedness and opinions that do not build or inspire but hurt and tear down. When I ride this train, it’s very hard not to become like the rest of the passengers. And, I have.
I have neglected what is good and holy. I’ve listened to the wrong voices and forgot that like me, they are broken and struggling against something they don’t really understand. We have lost our way on a hair-raising and chaotic ride to the end of the tracks. We’ve forgotten that in the end, the end will come to us where ever we are.
I want the end to find me happy. I want the end to find me mending my broken pieces while I mend others.
I stand on the edge of the stairs at the last car and practice my jump in my mind. In the distance, the hills call my name. I jump. I roll. I live. The train vanishes around a bend. A new chapter begins.