By Robert J. Hastings
TUCKED AWAY in our subconscious minds is an idyllic vision in which we see ourselves on a long journey that spans an entire continent. We’re traveling by train and, from the windows, we drink in the passing scenes of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at crossings, of cattle grazing in distant pastures, of smoke pouring from power plants, of row upon row upon row of cotton and corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of city skylines and village halls.
But uppermost in our conscious minds is our final destination–for at a certain hour and on a given day, our train will finally pull into the station with bells ringing, flags waving, and bands playing. And once that day comes, so many wonderful dreams will come true. So restlessly, we pace the aisles and count the miles, peering ahead, waiting, waiting, waiting for the station.
“Yes, when we reach the station, that will be it!” we promise ourselves. “When we’re eighteen. . . win that promotion. . . put the last kid through college. . . buy that 450SL Mercedes-Benz. . . have a nest egg for retirement!”
From that day on we will all live happily ever after.
Sooner or later, however, we must realize there is no station in this life, no one earthly place to arrive at once and for all. The journey is the joy. The station is an illusion–it constantly outdistances us. Yesterday’s a memory, tomorrow’s a dream. Yesterday belongs to a history, tomorrow belongs to God. Yesterday’s a fading sunset, tomorrow’s a faint sunrise. Only today is there light enough to love and live.
So, gently close the door on yesterday and throw the key away. It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad, but rather regret over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who would rob us of today.
“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.”
So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, swim more rivers, climb more mountains, kiss more babies, count more stars. Laugh more and cry less. Go barefoot oftener. Eat more ice cream. Ride more merry-go-rounds. Watch more sunsets. Life must be lived as we go along. The station will come soon enough.
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
Well, I have a lot of changes going on and a lot of news to share. So grab a cup of coffee or the beverage of your choice and let’s catch up. First, I am finally in permanent housing after living seven months in a hotel and I absolutely love this community! I am living at Trinity Bell Gardens (a Fort Worth address but closer to the city of Hurst – we’re right behind Bell Helicopter.) This is like the coolest community ever…since I have been here for the past few months we have had an ice cream social, a grand opening of a dog park with weekly community doggie walks whether or not you own a dog, and a coffee and doughnuts social. We have a wine and cheese social upcoming as well as a trip to Winstar Casino! If you know anyone interested in visiting this community, be sure and have them reference “Darlene R. Ulmet” as the community offers a $100 new resident referral discount to current residents. The community is super clean, the residents are very friendly but not intrusive, and the staff is out of this world! The pool is to die for with eight chairs which actually are in the water so you can read and relax while keeping yourself cool and your book dry. We have a social director named Cindy who is so sweet you just want to hug her every time you see her. Okay, enough about the community, because along with the community comes the all dreaded nearly evil experience of “moving” which apparently I survived as I am still blogging.
Actually, the moving part is coming along wonderfully. For the first time in decades, I am getting super organized. I have my home office set up exactly as I like it, the garage still needs work but I know where everything is, and after having lived so long in temporary housing, it’s like Christmas without the expense – just open the box and see what you find that you have missed having! I am finding that mostly I have missed those personal items that make a house a home and make daily living easier – my sand collection, artwork, treasured books, special mementos and cherished gifts from friends and family, specialized cookware, etc. Also, if you know of anyone in need of camping equipment, washer/dryer, furniture to be restored, or yard equipment, have them leave me a message and I can direct them to my Craig’s List listings. Yes, I know I am spring cleaning in the fall but hey, at least it is getting done!
Now for the changes which are huge in number and intensity. The first big change occurred in August when I was put on short term disability by my employer. As many of you know, I have some very serious and debilitating autoimmune health issues. I am taking this six months to take care of my self and to investigate other less demanding employment opportunities but I am still technically employed by Baylor. I have been vigorously working on and organizing my writing and motivational speaking career. Please take a look at the Tip Scale X preview and let me know what you think about this project by leaving generous comments.
My nest is getting emptier with John, Robert and Laura all living near UNT in Denton, Chris in Plano – north of Dallas, and just Daniel here with mom and I. He is a huge help to my mother and I so I am sure that when he moves out I will feel the full force of the truly empty nest. And that of course, opens the doors to many other possibilities. I am spending more time pursuing activities that give me joy and that is a very good thing!
We had one of those “God things” happen this week. Mom tripped in the garage and fell full force on the concrete. She is extremely sore and bruised but miraculously, NOTHING is broken! The doctors were amazed – very unusual for someone her age – Praise God and thank you Jesus.
Until next post,
God Bless and stay in touch!
Fall has always been a bittersweet season for me. Now living in Texas, I am very thankful that the temperatures are about to sink back down into the 90′s (Texas cool front) while simultaneously depressed that my most favorite of all seasons – SUMMER – is about to come to an end.
This fall is going to be very different for me as I have recently been placed on short term leave from my job for health related reasons. I have 180 days in which to come up with a Plan B. Foremost in my mind, is how to pull the finances together successfully. As a Christian, I always believe that things happen for a reason so I will be challenging myself and my friends to help me discover this reason and determine which doors to open and which doors to close. Feel free to pray for me as I believe I am going to need it in the upcoming months.
For many years, people have encouraged me to write. Many have said that I have a gift. I don’t know if that is true or not, but I guess that I am about to find out as my primary focus during this season of fall is to pursue writing in earnest.
I am looking into many writing projects and will update my progress on this blog once I have become a little more organized.
Thus far, I have purchased a new laptop and upgraded my writing software. I have also joined a writer’s group.
On a personal note, Laura will be moving into her new apartment in Denton which is very near the UNT Campus and not far from her brothers, John and Robert. Daniel started a new job this summer – his first with full 40 hours and benefits. Chris is still a software engineer with MedAssets and living in Dallas. Nanny is doing very well after her health crisis last fall. She still uses a walker sometimes but she can use her cane for short walks. She has the kind of walker with a seat so she can sit and rest when needed. We get to walk together in the evening now once it cools down (usually after 9 p.m.!).
I love living at Trinity Bell Gardens! It is the coolest community – pristine clean all the time, friendly neighbors and excellent amenities. The only bummer is that I figured my budget before I went on leave and things are going to get pretty tight until I can rouse up some additional income ideas (I have several already). Lotta changes this fall but everyone is doing very well. Praise God!
Wish me luck and God Bless!
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