Arriving at the subway platform this morning I saw that it was full of people trying to get to work. In NYC that is never a good sign for your commute. It means that the train is not running regularly. Right on cue the loudspeaker announcement went off, claiming that there was an “earlier incident on the 7 train and they would be running with delays.”
On previous mornings when this would happen, I would wait with everyone and then try to cram my body onto one of the late trains along with the other hundred people pushing in behind me. It was never pretty and always seemed to bring up otherwise undetectable claustrophobia within me. I looked over at the opposite platform going further into Queens and saw it was completely empty.
So I had the bright idea that I would back track a couple of stops and take a different train into the city. When I arrived at the planned stop, I was in for a surprise. Apparently I was not the only one with this great idea to reroute on a different train. This stop was even worse. Getting down the stairs to the other platform was so full of people that it took 15 minutes just for two flights. Hundreds upon hundreds of people all going the same direction! It was like July 4th just after the fireworks.
Ok MTA, two can play at this game. I will go even deeper into Queens and clear this chaos. So off I trotted to the empty platform at this station. Taking the train less traveled, deeper into Queens, until I found calm. And finally I found it, an almost empty platform going towards Manhattan. I waited for the next train and quickly claimed my seat. You see, grounded in a seat, no chaos can get to you. I prepared myself for the inevitable, as I knew it was bound to come.
And come it did, just a few stops later. But I had done the work of going deeper, grounding and preparing myself; so when chaos did arrive, I wasn’t bothered. In fact I peacefully went to sleep in my seat.
Maybe that’s a little bit how life is. A lot of times we see the chaos and we fight along with it. We feel that it is inevitable that we become a part of it. We push through to what looks like the fastest way to our intended destination.
But when we get to the other end many times we realize it wasn’t as fast as we thought it would be. And we look a lot more harried at the other end; full of stress with no peace. Chaos rubbed off on us.
Sometimes maybe we need to take the road less traveled and that can mean taking the time to go a little deeper. Until you find that calm and that peace. Find your platform and there you can ground yourself. Prepare for the inevitable crazy that you know is bound to be down the line.
Honestly, it brings to mind that story in Matthew about Jesus sleeping in the boat. You see he and his guys were in a boat and a storm came up. Not just a little drizzle but a full out “the boat is going to flip” kind of storm. His guys were afraid, which I can totally understand, but Jesus was sleeping. So they get him up and he speaks away the storm.
But you know, then I think about the times before the boat that Jesus went away on his own to think and pray and I muse…was that his seat? Was he grounding so that he was ready for the storm; to even have peace in the storm?
And then I ask…what do we ground ourselves in?
Where is our empty platform?