My favorite way to travel in Europe is by train. It is vastly more comfortable, less complicated and in some cases actually shorter than air travel. With no security lines, you simply arrive at the train station a few minutes before departure, find the proper platform, look for the your car (the number of the car is on your ticket), get on with your luggage, find your assigned seat, place your luggage in the overhead, get settled and in due time a ticket agent comes round to verify and stamp your ticket. Seats are comfortable, there is plenty of legroom and you can get up and walk around.
Not only is the process of boarding a train more pleasurable than an airplane, so is departure. Arriving at your destination, you simply gather your belongings and get off. That’s it. No hassle either way.
European railroads, placed strategically throughout beautiful countryside, enable you to enjoy incredible views. You can easily track where you are as stations are clearly marked. Your forward journey leads from one station to another – straight ahead – until your final destination is announced.
I believe life is somewhat like my train trips. As my husband said in a sermon, we often view our lives in a cyclical movement like a watch – where time goes round and round and round again – with the possibility of repetition. Actually it is more like a cord that stretches out from birth to death. As each precious moment passes, a little of our time line is cut off so there is considerably less of the cord ahead of us than there is behind us.
Similar to traveling by train, life’s time line moves straight ahead – station by station. Each station I leave behind – childhood, teenage years, young adult and so on – makes me realize how short life is. I will never repeat those years. They are all behind me.
As I continue to bury my loved ones, the reality of this hits hard. Tombstones record two dates: a birthdate and the day of death. Just like my train rides, their lives on earth have come to an end. Thankfully, I can say their destination has been Heaven.
I am still on my journey, but someday it will be over. Like those who have gone before me, God will choose my time of departure.
My prayer is that, like Paul, when I greet the Lord I will have some fruit to give Him in gratitude that this life’s journey is not all there is. As a believer, the end of my journey is the beginning of eternal life with Him.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26). For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me…. (Philippians 1:21-22).