About a month ago, I was at a book signing in my hometown. It was a shared event. I was promoting my book together with my nephew, JJ Calloway, who was there to promote his book. It’s a family thing.
Unfortunately, over the weekend, not only did I discover that my parents had been battling a nasty cold for weeks, but I found out that my nephew was also under the weather. So, it was no surprise that when I got home, I also got a cold. It’s a family thing.
Colds, although annoyingly inconvenient, can be a good thing. They give our bodies the warning alert it needs to slow down. If I have learned anything from my multiple injuries, it’s that it’s always a good thing to let our bodies rest in order to heal. I took advantage of my downtime, and I read a book.
I decided to read Lauren Graham’s, Talking As Fast As I Can. In an effort to be completely honest, I should tell you that I put this book on hold at the library months ago. I am a huge Gilmore Girls fan, so I knew I would like it. I wanted to be at the top of the check-out list. I planned ahead. I looked forward to it. I just didn’t expect to battle congestion and a foggy head space at the same time I was enjoying it.
While sitting in my favorite chair, tucked under a cozy blanket, drinking tea with honey to try to outwit my obsessive coughing, I happened upon these sentences:
But life doesn’t often spell things out for you or give you what you want
exactly when you want it, otherwise it wouldn’t be called life, it would
be called vending machine.
It’s hard to say exactly when it will happen, and it’s true that whatever
you’re after may not drop down the moment you spend all your quarters,
but someday soon a train is coming. In fact, it may already be on the way.
You just don’t know it yet. (Lauren Graham, Talking as Fast as I Can).
Someday my train will come? Will it? Currently, I’m not so sure. Some days I feel like my train got delayed, rerouted, or perhaps even derailed. I would like to check the train schedule, radio the engineer, or simply hear its slow rumble coming down the track. But, I haven’t been able to pinpoint the exact location of my train. I’m not even sure it has left the station. I seem to still be struggling with the same things that I have always been struggling with. And, I don’t recognize a solution, at least not yet.
Our circumstances have been wreaking havoc on my spirit again. They have shown up like annoying little monsters of stress and anxiety… all ugly and gnarly. It’s so easy to return to my old patterns of grief and discouragement. It’s so easy to want to wallow. But, that doesn’t get me from anywhere or take me to anywhere. That just leaves me where I’ve been, stuck on the station platform desperately looking down the track for a sign, any sign, that my train is on its way.
I have tried, over and over… and over, to convince myself that the place where I currently reside is not going to be the place I will stay forever. It’s not easy to talk to myself about this. Some days, I just don’t want to listen. Some days, I am just tired of fighting the good fight. Lauren Graham only had to wait five years for her train, it’s been over 15 for me… and I’m still here. Still waiting.
No, I’m not complaining, just stating a fact.
Amazingly, even though it has been so hard for so long, reading these few simple sentences reminded me that it’s worth it to keep looking down the track. It’s worth it to keep hoping. Yes, someday, my train could still come in.
Inspiration. Creativity. Nuggets of wisdom. Hope. They all work in mysterious ways. They all show up when you least expect them. They always come as a surprise. At least they do for me. It took a perfectly timed book release, paired with a perfectly timed library rental (I wasn’t even first on the list, I was third), paired with an unexpected sick-day, for me to slow down long enough to even read these sentences. Could that all be a coincidence? I don’t think so. I think, everything conspired together perfectly to send me a message.
Sometimes you’ve gotta slow down long enough to listen.
Thank you, Lauren Graham, for writing these sentences. Thanks for reminding me it’s still okay to hope. Thanks for reminding me it’s still okay for me to expect my train to come in.
Wait… is that the solemn sound of a train whistle I hear in the distance?
I hope so. Yes? Maybe.
©2016 Betts Keating. All rights reserved.
Read more of Betts Keating’s story in her memoir, My Movie Memoir Screenplay Novel, available for purchase at amazon.com.
Find out more about JJ Calloway’s book, Monster Visits the Land of Colors, here.
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