My youngest son loves trains. Literally whenever he sees one, his whole body responds. Eyes and mouth wide with amazement, shudders of excitement, arms and legs waving and kicking with joy, tiny fingers pointed, followed by sweet shouts of “Choooooo Chooooooo!” Even presented with only the remote possibility of getting a glimpse of one of these power movers, he will wait patiently, as near to the empty track that Mommy or Daddy will allow, for just that chance to experience that rush again. I would love to take him on a train. He hasn’t yet seen a train from the inside perspective, only as the standby observer, from a safe distance, off the track. He sees the train for one brief moment on its journey, never knowing where it came from, where its going, or what its main purpose is.
I suppose life is like that. We are all traveling on a track toward something. Lately though, I’ve been wondering, is it ever possible that you can step off the track, maybe even get derailed, and become the observer….the one patiently waiting at the side of the track for that glimpse of another train steaming forward, full of power and purpose and focus….only to see it pass and disappear around the bend, leaving a sense of emptiness and longing. Longing to be on the track.
I’ll be honest, that’s me. I feel like wherever I turn there are people energetically focused, aware of purpose, filled with a dream, steaming toward a destination. If I work hard enough at it, I can remember when I had that much drive. What is easy, is remembering when I lost it. Sitting rather awkwardly across from a therapist, my eighteen year old self expressing fear of the possibility of dying young. Why? Because the focus and purpose for my life that I had built up in my still developing, inexperienced mind was crumbling before my very eyes. Only a couple of months into film school, a huge financial commitment, a mountain of expectations I could not live up to, physical and emotional exhaustion, confusion, and an overbearing desire to run. Run I did. Whether or not that dream was one God placed on my heart or not, my leaving, left a huge portion of me empty, lost, listless, off the track.
My desire to create stifled by fear and insecurity, I excelled in studying the creations of others. Artworks of the ancients became my passion. Perhaps the only time I felt focused on something so deeply, were those years earning my degree in Art History and Religious Studies. But, I could never see beyond that, never sum up a driving force to plow forward toward a goal. I studied for the sheer joy of learning, with no intentions.
I had taken on a “let life happen to me” attitude. Fast forward several years, my days are spent home, with our two little ones. Enduring tantrums, and the humdrum of housekeeping. I have experienced my small, private victories and accomplishments within our walls. Laughed and delighted in our boys and their silliness and zest for life. I have experienced the powerful fellowship of women who chose the same. Seen their passion for that choice. I’ve tried desperately to share in that feast with as much fervor, not even bothering to ask why I would.
But….yet still…as I see those around me moving forward in their lives, those working toward something, a focused point and passion, those living out their dreams….I can’t help but feel, I am off the track. My focus, purpose, dreams, were lost a long time ago I am afraid. I don’t know how to get them back.
Where are you? On the track or off?