Everything Changes

tied on train track

Nothing is certain. Nothing is forever. Nothing is written in stone.

You think you’ve got it under control, so you let things coast along a little bit. Nothing wrong with that. You have the right to watch some damned television, don’t you? You have the right to play a freaking video game if you want to.

And you get up and go to work. You come home. You eat, sleep, go out to dinner, go to the movies, fall into a routine.

But something is bound to happen to shake up that safe little life. Because life is not static. It never is. Life always changes. We’re just not always ready for the changes it brings.

Nothing drastic has happened in my life—yet. And even if the things I see on the horizon actually happen, they won’t be life or death. They’ll just be different. A major adjustment or two, maybe, but doable.

The problem is, I’m comfortable. I don’t want to change. I don’t want “different.” I don’t want to adjust. I want to keep talking like I’m GOING to change, but not really HAVE to change. But I can see the smoke of a train in the distance and I know there’s a good chance it’s heading my way.  And I’m tied to my own comfortable railroad tracks.

This is a blessing. So often a major change or uncertainty comes along and we have been blind to all of the little things leading up to it, or it happens just out of the blue with no warning, like a gust of wind.

When you see the train in the distance, you have two choices. You can lie there, tied to the tracks, and be surprised when you get run over, or you can untie yourself, stand up, and move. If the train hits you, you’re going to move anyway—it just might not be where it’s best to go.

Note – I said “untie yourself”. Don’t count on somebody else to wander over and untie you. Generally speaking, they’re all tied to their own comfortable railroad tracks.

For me, the trains I see coming—there are two of them–are far enough away that I can lie on the tracks and think for a moment.

This is also a blessing. You don’t always have the time to think when change smacks you upside the head. Sometimes you only have time to react.

But I have time to think. More, I have time to dream about what my life could be like when/if I get off the track. I can get up and move to the left, or I can get up and move to the right. Either way has a path, another set of tracks, if you will. Both paths are equally valid, both have pitfalls.

Then there’s the fact that the changes I think I see coming are still potential changes. They may not happen at all. They may not happen the way I think they will. Something entirely different may happen. But seeing the smoke in the distance is a valuable wake-up call to the reality that there will be change, somehow, someway, somewhere. In a lot of ways, life IS change. Change IS reality. The only question is—how will I respond?

When you are lying on the tracks trying to decide which way you want to move—or if you want to just let the train(s) run over you—you have to think about what’s really important. What matters? When it comes down to it, what can you live with? Where are you committed? Where are you just giving lip service because it makes you sound good? What are the actual responsibilities you have, and what are responsibilities you think you have because that’s what you’re supposed to have?

What is the truth?

This truth has to be something you feel inside, not what other people tell you is best. You may feel the calling to do something that nobody else understands. Maybe you don’t understand it, either. Maybe it terrifies you, just a little bit. Or maybe it terrifies you a lot.

A train is coming, whether or not it’s the train you expect.

I’m going to tell you a true thing – there is always a train.

I think when you’re faced with a crossroads, one of the roads is always rational. Sometimes the rational way is the way you should go. Sometimes its not. Sometimes you should roll to the left. Sometimes you should roll to the right. Sometimes the best decision is not to move at all and let yourself be swept away. That’s wonderful – as long as it was a conscious decision.

But if you stand at a crossroads staring blankly at the street signs, you mustn’t be surprised if a car runs you over because you didn’t realize you wanted to get out of it’s way. You can’t be on the tracks and be surprised when the train comes.

There is always a train. You don’t have a choice about that. But you can choose how you’ll respond to it.

 

train tracks

 

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