One day about a month from now, I’ll rush onto a crowded train headed out of Boston for the North Shore.  I’ll find a seat, plop down, and try to catch my breath from the rushing.

I’ll take out my train pass and watch as we push away from the platform and travel past the gravel plants clustered near the tracks.

I’ll listen to the person sitting next to me, as she talks on her cell phone about all manner of personal details.  I’ll wonder why she doesn’t care that I can hear everything she’s saying.  And I’ll wait for her to lose her cell signal when we go through a tunnel.

Then I’ll take out my book and start to read but find my eyes too heavy.

For one last time, I’ll scoot down in my seat and push my knees forward into the seat in front of me, so that I can support my nodding head leaning ever so close to that woman’s shoulder.

I’ll wake up about twenty minutes later, my knees hurting from the pressure of being shoved into the seat.  And I’ll wonder once again whether I’ve done any permanent damage to them by my train sleeping habits over the past few years.

Then I’ll close my eyes for a few more minutes, paranoid that I’ll miss my stop like I did that one time.

But I know I won’t do it this time.

This time when they call out the next stop, I’ll gather my things with a bit of a lump in my throat and head for the door where the conductor stands.  Then I’ll climb down from that train for the last time at the stop that I’ve called home for the last few years.  And when I climb in the car where my husband waits for me, I will feel relieved that my long daily journeys on mass transit will come to a halt for a season.

But there will be something in me that recognizes those train rides were about more than just a daily commute for me.  Somewhere along those tracks I realized that my life was not the center of the universe, and despite my acting as if it was, my God had not grown weary of me.  I learned that my independence might not be what He called for, and that reminders of His faithfulness are all along the way.  Perhaps those lessons could have been learned anywhere, but I guess God chose to use public transportation as his classroom for me in this season.

When it seemed unending and unfair.  When it seemed like I left home and returned always in the dark.  When the ride seemed so very long.

He used it to shape me and to change me in little ways and in bigger ones.  And I am a different woman than the one who climbed up those train steps for the first time just a few years ago.

Though my days on the train will be over, I’ve found that there is much life to be lived along the way.

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.  As they pass through the Valley of  Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.  They go from strength to strength, til each appears before God in Zion.  (Psalm 84:5-7)