The Train Knows its Destination

 In Weekly Forum Discussion, Writer in Residence

I live by the train tracks. When my children were little they would go outside and wave to the train engineer. He was kind and blew the whistle for them. Their faces lit up with delight, as did mine.

I love trains. I see a train and become relaxed. It’s the clickety-clack sound they make along the track, the movement, and the colors of the train cars. The trains in this town are always heading somewhere, either they are bringing goods in from Seattle or they are taking goods to Seattle. The train knows its destination.

The train is continuously on the move, flowing seamlessly through the valley. I want to be like that train skipping down the tracks, moving forward, knowing exactly where I am headed. On days when I am getting things done or being productive, I feel successful. I got it together. I can do anything — look out world. I checked everything off my to do list. I am so amazing! Next, I would end world hunger and create world peace. I can do it all!

Going with the flow is an amazing experience. It is where my creativity and dreams live. My inspiration comes alive, and I am filled with such euphoria. I have endorphins that fill me with joy; I am my best self. I use these days to accomplish my tasks, write, dance, laugh, explore, and volunteer.

Of course there are days I wake up knowing exactly what I need to do, but the universe has other plans. One of my worst days was when I was in the pains of divorce. Our house sold, so I needed to be out. I loaded up the U-Haul and moved. I was very emotional — this was my home, the place where I raised my children. Where dreams were dreamed and games were played. Now I was passing the home on to a new family.

I got to my new temporary home, which was a chaotic mess filled with boxes. I needed and wanted to get organized. My realtor called, “where are the washer and dryer?” Apparently they were to stay with the house, oops. I loaded up another U-Haul and drove the washer and dryer back.

I had to see the new family in my old home, it was very difficult. I delivered the washer and dryer. It had been a long day, I was ready to leave. I pulled that big truck out of my old narrow steep driveway and hit my realtor’s truck. I told her to get an estimate. I continued on my way, but realized I needed to pull over. There on the side of the road I broke down with emotion. The vehicle was fine. The driver was not. My husband was right: I would never succeed, I would be a screw up and failure.

I got back to my new place and did laundry (using someone else’s washer and dryer). I couldn’t find my phone. I remembered I put it in my coat pocket, the one I put in the washer. I had washed my phone.

I went to bed feeling so low and unworthy, like a failure. There was no way I was going to make it. This good cry turned into a meltdown. The universe was telling me to process all that I had been through, and I didn’t. After several very good cries I was ready. I woke up the next day and took care of my realtor’s truck, got a new phone, and organized my new place. I was back on track. I will succeed. I am not a screw up, I was temporally derailed. I won’t let someone else define me.

Washing my phone was great. It allowed for some quiet time, no interruptions, a time of deep thought. The old phone was washed clean of the past, as I was being washed clean of my past. I was now able to start again with a new phone and a new life.

I guess I am like a train. I have to stop and wait at times. I get derailed at times. Some days I will flow seamlessly down the tracks. Some days I will get to blow the whistle, and other days I will let my colors shine. I will eventually reach my destination even if it wasn’t the one I had intended.

Written by: Collette Cottingham; Guardian Angels

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