Monday, June 21, 2010

That's not my train

This morning an ordinary thing happened. As I went to catch the train, I saw a train pulling up in the other direction. The person I was with thought that it was the train I was trying to make and exclaimed, "Quick! Run! Go get on the train!"

"Oh, that's not my train," I replied calmly. "That's the train going in the opposite direction."

So often, though, I arrive just as my train is at the platform and the doors are closing. I see (or hear) the train from just far enough away and I say, "Oh no, that's my train! I gotta get on that train!" and I rush around trying to get on it, just to arrive when the doors close and the train pulls out. I sigh, catching my breath, annoyed that I missed it. Luckily, the train comes pretty often, so I only have to wait 5-10 minutes. But it's still annoying.

The incident this morning, where I saw a train on the platform, but effortlessly remained calm, made me think about what happens so often in life. Sometimes we'll see a chance, an opportunity, or a way to get where we want to be. We see this "train" and rush to jump on it because we think that's where we want to go. But for some reason, we don't make it, the doors close. At this point we have two options. We can choose to get frustrated or annoyed and think, "I can't believe I missed it!" We can dwell, and wallow and focus on what could have been. But there are two things that will change the way we view the situation:

The first one is when we realize that, "that is not my train." Maybe we thought we should have been on it, but the reality is we are not, and for some reason Hashem didn't want us to be on that train. Example: A person who wants to get married, (yup it always comes back to shidduchim, though believe it or not that wasn't the first example that came into my head, it's just the easiest to write about) and sees so many others around her/him getting married might think, "I should have been on that train, why am I not on it? I missed the train." Translation: "I should be married right now!" When that person realizes that "that was not my train" and that was not the path they were supposed to be on right now, then they realize they are not missing out on what they are supposed to have. It's not the right time for them to get married. For some reason Hashem doesn't want them on that train.

The second train of thought (pun intended) that changes our perspective is when we realize that another train is coming soon, and we'll get on that one. It's not like there is only one train that goes to that destination. Maybe we missed the one train, but another one is coming. If we're lucky then it's a frequent train that comes every 5 minutes, but even if it comes once every hour, we will get to our destination eventually.

So the next time an opportunity comes your way and you try and try and try your best, but see the doors close in your face, just remember. That's not your train, it's not the train you were meant to be on. Don't worry, the right train will come around and you'll get on that one. Just wait for the right train to come around, eventually you'll get to where you want to go.


  1. Great post! My newest post seems to coincidentally be on a similar topic.

  2. I like the mashal, sterngrad. But what happens when you didn't miss a train, but you're waiting for like 20 minutes, and you're late...all your coworkers are already at work, and you're still waiting for that train. You're waiting in the cold...waiting to see that light and hear the loud noisy train.
    Then you hear an announcement that the Q train is no longer running and not even stopping by Ave J anymore.

    What's the mashal and nimshal there? :D

  3. Shades of Grey- thanks!

    Sefardi Gal- that's a tough one. That means Hashem is making it very difficult for you to get to Ave J, for one of two reasons: Either because despite the fact that you want to get to Ave J, Hashem wants you to reevaluate and choose a different path. The more likely answer is that Hashem really wants you to get to Ave J, too, but He knows you have a lot of inner strength and is challenging you to figure how to get there even when it's not easy. He's saying, "You really wanna get to Ave J, Sefardi Gal? Is that what you really want? Well, I'm gonna make it really hard, so prove it, and then I'll help you get there."

  4. You should be a Rebbetzin, Sterngrad. You're chock full of wisdom; the world needs a rebbetzin like you.

    Great post and great mashal. I'll think of it next time I'm failing down the steps, begging the train to stop.

  5. Coral- aww thanks!! I would love to be a Rebbetzin one day. The only problem with that is that it requires that I marry a Rabbi, and although I would love that, that is not dependent on me, it's up to Hashem to decide.


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