Monday, October 20, 2014

A Life That's Good

If you scroll through the photo gallery on my phone, you will see a whole slew of pictures that look strikingly similar. I would guess that there are probably close to one hundred of them now, all taken from the same spot - right in front of the first door leading into the waiting room of the White Plains Metro North station - the place I stand every morning so I can get the last seat in the last car of the 7:43 train, which is the most efficient place to sit for the quickest exit from track 21 on the upper level of Grand Central Station to the back door on 47th and Madison, which is the door I exit from for the shortest walk to my office.

I'm nothing if not efficient in the morning. Except the most efficient thing would probably be to time my morning so I reach the train platform just as the train pulls into the station, thereby shaving a couple of minutes from my commute. But I never do that. Instead, I get to the station and wait on the platform for a few minutes before the train comes barreling through. Just a tiny stretch of time between home and work where I can take a breath, check my email, catch up on blogs, or, a few times a month, take a picture of the view.

It's not a particularly breathtaking vista. There's the fence that runs along the far side of the tracks, a blanket of trees, a short stretch of the Bronx River Pathway and the highway from which the Pathway takes its name, and a parking lot filled with the cars of morning commuters.

And yet this view pulls at me.

Since the first day I took the train into Manhattan almost two years ago, this view compels me to take out my phone more often than not and document what I see. What I see every day. It should have become ordinary at this point and yet it never has. It should be something that I barely see anymore, for how familiar it's become, and yet it's not.

I have found myself thinking a lot lately about the passing of time. I have written about it a little here in these pages, but most of those thoughts are buried in my head, still waiting for their moment in the sun. Maybe now is that moment. I am fascinated, always, by the way that time can both stretch and condense depending on the situations I find myself in, and how my experiences, both good and bad, can simultaneously feel like they happened years ago and yesterday.

But time never stands still. It moves on and things change and so do people, and nothing stays the same forever. And there is a beauty in this, I think. Because the days that make up a life are both gorgeous and tricky, filled with both success and struggle. And the thing about time is that it tends to soften the hard edges and illuminate the good so that I can find clarity in the tricky moments and so that the happy ones stick with me. And all of this? It's kind of miraculous.

And this, I suspect, is why the view from the train platform pulls me in every day. Because in this view is tangible evidence of time. From snow-covered to green to golden brown, the picture keeps changing, and then it circles back and we begin again and nothing is really irrevocable because the leaves might fall from the trees in October, but by May they are back again.

For the two years that I have watched this view so much has happened in this life of mine. Big and little things. Hard and glorious things. And what I've learned more than anything over that time is to be gentle with myself. To understand that things are going to happen that are both good and not so good because that's just the way life is. And when the not so good happens sometimes the only thing to do is to just forge ahead because tomorrow is another day, and even if tomorrow isn't that much better, the next day will be, and the one after that.

Because I understand now in a real and profound way that I am more resilient than I ever thought I was or could be. And I understand that I have a deep well of gratitude for this life I am living that helps me to embrace the bad with the good and just keep on keeping on.

Lately I've been playing a song on repeat. It's called "A Life That's Good" and it's from the TV show Nashville. I remember the song from the show's second season, but I played it back recently and for the first time, I really listened to the lyrics and, well, they just knocked me out.

Two arms around me, heaven to ground me
And a family that always calls me home.
Four wheels to get there, enough love to share
And a sweet, sweet, sweet song.

At the end of the day,
Lord I pray,
I have a life that's good.

And the truth is, they really made me smile. Because they reminded me, as the song says, that "I already have more than I should." I am so incredibly lucky to have the family and the friends that I have. To live in the home and in the place that I do. To have people who lift me up and show me the way - people who mean home to me so much more than any four walls ever could. And to have a deep and abiding faith that helps me to believe that there is something so much bigger than myself out there with a plan for me that holds things that are right and good and exactly as they are supposed to be.

So when I take away all the noise and all the complexities, what I really know is that no matter what happens and no matter how quickly or slowly time marches on and what is marching in it, I have a life that's good.

And, well, that's just everything.


  1. you really are a wise and beautiful soul. i so agree. it's a journey, good, bad, beautiful, ugly, it's all there, and how we chose to live with it is all in our perspective. appreciate appreciate appreciate. xoxo

  2. I am obsessed with this song. And relate to so much of what you share here. Thank you. xoxo

  3. A really, beautiful post. One of my favorites.

  4. This is such a beautiful and soothing post. I think the view is beautiful, as are you.

  5. beautiful post - reminds me of the indigo girls' wood song

  6. This was beautiful . . . and I knew Lindsey would relate! (We all do, but it's a topic Lindsey discusses, too!)