Train Ride… Memories… Journey

I can still feel the red cushioned seats sinking under my little five year old body. I can hear the clackety clack of the train moving down the track and the whistle blowing ever so often. I can see the treats in the basket that the conductor brought down the aisle and my mom shaking her head and instead pulling sandwiches from a bag. Sitting with my mom and my baby sister, the adventure of taking a train from Virginia to Alabama was something only dreams were made of in my five year old understanding. At one point I asked to move across the aisle so I could sit by myself. Not surprising considering my independent nature that was brewing even at that age.

I found a seat next to a window and pretended to be a grown up. Given to wild imagination it wasn’t hard to conjure up a whole new identity for myself.  I can still remember the excitement of pretending to be on my own, taking a journey through the dark on a train bound for some foreign place.  As I nodded off to sleep, I felt such contentment as the train lulled me off to sleep.

Today I feel that same sort of contentment, that same kind of peace. Yesterday, I hugged my son goodbye as he began his own new journey, entering into college life with a whole lot of promise and excitement over the future. With a still wild imagination, my mind had conjured up all kinds of ideas for him and for his future. Some brought laughter, a few tears. My excitement over his new adventure at times left me almost giddy. At other times left me in a pool of tears as I realized this kid that I had poured so much of my life into was off on his own journey; one that was independent of me as it should be. As I drifted off to sleep last night, I was lulled by the knowledge that my son won’t be alone on his journey. That his relationship with God would likely flourish, would likely be challenged, and would likely grow in ways I couldn’t imagine. And that left me with a strange sense of peace that only comes from a journey of faith.  Wondering if anyone out there is saying good-bye to an old journey and saying hello to a new kind of normal?

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