YOU are bigger than any loss that YOU will ever take!
The “gain” in “gone”.
Life constantly reminds us of change. Look around, look out the window, gaze across your view. Look at the sky or to the ground, observe the seasons. Look in the mirror. Really look in the mirror. There is the biggest example of change that YOU will ever know!
I took a 6 hour train ride and a 17 hour bus ride over this past weekend. There was once upon a time when trips like these were first nature to me. I could ride the rails and the greyhounds of transportation with such an excited patience and stillness. I enjoyed the views, the landscapes of the horizons and the fertile abundance of earths plentiful splendor. I could spend hours gazing off into sunsets and rises, at mountaintop or water views, I’d stare endlessly into the trees and fields and plains. Wherever I was going would be a distant thought as I would wander in the travel and moments of my routes. Wouldn’t notice any of the noises or sounds amongst me. I’d barely even see, let alone hear the people in the cars or seats right next to me.
Not this trip.
I heard every baby crying. Every snore, sneeze, cough. I think I smelled every unbathed, non-deodorized, fart. I heard every silly, ignorant, or stupid conversation. Every “crazy” antic and outburst. I heard every phone conversation, each broken word, curse word, inappropriate for public consumption word, every angered, frustrated, delusional word. I smelled every popcorn, peanut, flaming hot cheeto, White Castle burger, mild sauce, and the bus breath that comes with it. I smelled every opening of that bathroom door. And I looked out the windows, but all I saw was a long, very long, way to go.
But I changed…
These things were probably always here. I’m sure they were. I’m sure people always talked like this. And smelled like that. And babies cried endlessly, and hysterically, like that. And I’m sure that people have always eaten, and relieved themselves on the buses, or on the train. I’m sure of it. And I had the patience and perspective to be able to enjoy it all. Until I was a parent. And my bills were past due. And my personal life was in disarray. And I was dealing with severe health issues. And family issues. And dealing with obstacles and challenges and problems that at 35, I can’t run from as I did in my teens and twenties. Mortality was not a factor back in the day. I had energy and excitement reserved for being able to leap and tower over and beyond whatever I was going through. Not today. Today that energy has to be compartmentalized and rationed accordingly. Today I am frustrated with the “resolve” I have that I once knew as a reflex. Back then, these were decisions that I made. Today they are but the choices I perceive as my only options.
Or not. Or I choose to think positively.
So on the 2nd leg of the bus journey we get this driver, James. James is a 54 year old man from Chicago who has been driving Greyhound for 24 years come March 2014. James likes tea and lemonade. James tends to think that he is also a comedian. Or at least equipped with a great enough sense of humor to control the room of his bus. I know these things because James frequented the mic and stage by taking full use of the intercom during our trip. And for the first 6-7 hours, I thought James was pretty damn annoying! And he would end every “set” with this…
“And remember people, if you want to stay positive, stay around positive. Stay around positive people. Stay around people that keep you thinking positive. And if they are not positive, well, thank God for caller ID and voice mail, and the unfollow button.”
And James said this about 4 or 5 times during the first 7 hours of the trip. I barely heard him. Especially over, well all those things that I was seeing, and hearing, and smelling.
And then I started smiling. And then I looked out the window. And then I saw some mountains that I remembered. And a lake that I recalled. As a matter of fact, I stopped at that lake before while driving this trip with my son about 6 years ago. And then I started remembering those trees and the look of the sky, and all that field.
And none of my problems went away, but I put them in perspective.
Today is today. Yesterday was today, yesterday. Today is always a chance to start over. Yesterday is always a chance you had. Today is new, always new. Yesterday is old, it will always be old. And the more today’s that you take advantage of, well the older and unnecessary it becomes to have so much faith or fantasy in what was, yesterday. These trips were once so peaceful and serene to me because they were the moment that I had and I reveled in them. It wasn’t that I didn’t see or hear what was going on around me, it was that what was going on in me was more important. I believed, I hoped, I had faith. I was so positive.
And slowly and surely, life happened. And mistakes were made. And problems occurred. And time passed. And regrets accumulated. And options seemed to narrow. And opportunities began to slow. And as an adult I have surrounded myself with more people who offer their views on reality from a sense of practicality as opposed to the younger version of me that sought out the dreamers and the doers and them that had perpetual optimism and hope. I spoke “life” and tolerated nothing less from anyone around me. And I took my bumps and bruises with a smile because I knew then what James has helped me remember now, today is a new day. Today is a new start.
On the way to my destination, one to which I have traveled many times before, there is this open field of farms. I always remember these lands because of their length and width and neat uniformity. Whether they are filled with crops or in the planting season. It is one long area of this purpose. And today I saw the fields and it’s all just dirt and openness. But I remembered that I’ve seen it like this before. I’ve seen it with just the dirt. I’ve seen it full of vegetation. And today I realized that both are life. Of course the crop season is life, growing and ripe, picked according to its fullness. But so is what I see today. Because underneath that ground is a process. A process of planting and fertilizing and nurturing. A process of steps. And that is a positive thing.
And before you know it, the bus was quiet.
Or I didn’t notice that it wasn’t. And I’m sitting there smiling. I’m sitting in the realization of the moment. A new opportunity to DO! A chance to change. A reason to try. Or try again. A reason to think, feel, and be positive. And if no one around me is going to be that for me, then I will be that for them! And maybe that’ll help a little bit. Maybe not with the smells, but life is a garden, and gardens use fertilizer, and fertilizer is, well, I guess the bad smell has a purpose too!
©2014 Cornelious “See” Flowers