When I met a woman at church last Sunday who is close to my age, we immediately found a common bond. Isn’t it funny how women can get right into a sharing of what is really important to them?
This woman, whom I shall call Phyllis, had just moved to Columbus, after living for 60 years in a smaller town in Ohio. Why? To be close to her grandchildren of course. “Was it hard to leave all your friends and connections?” I asked her, because I have been considering doing that myself.
Of course,” she said. “It was very hard, but you make new friends, and it’s worth it, because your children and your grandchildren are more important than anybody.” Then in typical woman to woman warmth, she went on to say, “It’s like your life is a train. People get on and ride with you, and then they get off, and then new people get on, and so on.” It’s trite, but true. When you’ve lived as long as I have, that train ride has been a very long one, and while some of the passengers are with you for the whole trip, others come and go. I had very close friends when my husband was in the Navy, but my train has long departed that station. I had wonderful neighbors when my children were little, and I often wonder where their life trains have taken them, and then there are friends from parts of my life, like high school, who got off my train many years ago, and now they’ve hopped back on for more of the journey.I like this analogy. I’m having fun with it. I’m also finding that as I cirfculate in my community, I keep encountering friends and acquaintances that I knew in what I fondly call “a previous life.” It’s fun to go to a restaurant and run into someone I haven’t seen in 20 years. They’d gotten off my train, transferred to another line, and now here they are again. Or maybe, I was the one who took the transfer and am returning to wave as they continue on another train.
As I consider moving to another city, to be a more accessible part of my granddaughters’ lives, I have to consider what it will be like to wave goodbye to the many connections I have here. I will have to start all over again, building new relationships, finding new interests, and learning how to enjoy the next phase of my life. It’s rather exciting to think about and a little scary too. But don’t worry. I don’t even have my bags packed yet. I’m sure Phyllis did some hard thinking, just like I’m doing now. But look. She’s already hopped onto my train. It might just be until the next stop, but she’s got her grandchildren with her. She’s not just waving to them now and then. They’re sitting next to her, listening to her stories, learning from her experience, and enjoying the ride.