In the morning, we packed our bags and walked to la Gare du Nord, went through customs, waited in line unsuccessfully for one last Parisian meal to eat on the train, and said goodbye as the train set off for London.
We picked up some sandwiches on the train, but they weren't nearly as satisfying. And our credit cards didn't work, so we had to pay cash.
I thought about sleeping, something people often do on trains, but instead I occupied my mind playing Sudoku. Two hours later we disembarked at St. Pancras Station in London, rushed onto the Underground to get to another Underground to get to another train station to get on a train to Exeter.
Along the way our suitcase broke and Duane spilled hot coffee on his arm.
Another four or was it was it five hours on the train? I don't know.
I had to keep track of five tickets for two people for one train ride.
I didn't do very well, but in the end it was okay.
Our daughter Kirsten explained why each ticket was important, but I didn't understand.
Kirsten is our guide to England and to trains because she works in England and spends a lot of time on trains. She says at first she liked them, but she isn't very fond of them now. They're boring.
When you are on the train, or in a train station, you are not really in one place or another. You are on your way to one place or another. You're waiting quietly in the place you don't want to be, doing the thing you don't want to do, in order to get to the place you do want to be, to do the thing you do want to do.
You don't engage the people next to you. Why? You likely won't see them again.
Sometimes you sleep. Sometimes you work. Sometimes you stare out the window.
Sometimes you play with your mobile device and talk to someone who isn't there. Or play Candy Crush.
Mostly you wait until your train arrives at your destination. So you can start your plans. So you can start engaging other people. So you can start real life.
I suppose that makes sense if we're talking about trains or train stations.
But too often we can live our whole lives this way.
We wait to do one thing until something else happens.
I'll start ___________ when I __________.
I'll start exercising when the semester ends.
I'll have people over for dinner when life slows down.
I'll start blogging again when I have more time.
Those are some of my mine. What are yours?
When we live as if we're in an in-between space, waiting to get to where we really want to be so we can do what we really want to do, we get stuck. We wait. We don't engage. We check out. We solve Sudoku puzzles. Or something else.
The thing is, if we want to live as followers of Jesus Christ, we must make every moment count, even the in-between times of our lives. We can live present, taking in the moments, taking advantage of opportunities, engaging people, loving people, making a difference.