(or Next Stop: Purple Lake at Love Hall)
I started writing this post several weeks ago and then got distracted by life. So much so that I had forgotten all about it. So when I starting writing again and went to save my first draft, not surprisingly using the exact same document name as before, I was startled to get the pop-up warning “The file already exists.” Really? It does? Clearly this is something that my psyche needs to set down.
There’s really no other way to describe it. The past few months have been a spectacularly catastrophic train wreck. I wish I could take credit for this adept analogy, but I didn’t come up with it. Rather it was given to me by one of the therapists whom I consulted with at the beginning of the year. Despite the multitude of red flags that went up before, during and after our meeting, she did leave me with this one nugget that I’ve turned over in my head many, many times.
My therapist’s life went careening off the rails last fall, and so much damage was left in the wake of that unforeseen disaster. Every person connected to her was impacted. The scene of the crash was quite horrific. The train meant to safely ferry us from here to there, to a destination, was suddenly lying on its side, irrevocably damaged and unable to continue the journey.
Some passengers were able to walk away minimally (completely?) unscathed. Perhaps these were the clients in the back of the train, who weren’t as attached or committed to the process. They seemingly dusted themselves off, grabbed their things, and sought alternate modes of transportation.
Those in the middle of the train suffered some injuries, predominantly superficial wounds that could be treated at the scene. Paramedics arrived and treated these clients, triaging as appropriate, getting the injured to safety.
But it was the front of train where the most serious and life-threatening injuries occurred, with yes, even some casualties. Hopes, dreams, promises, trust, commitment, attachment, connection, love – it was all laid out on the tracks like dismembered body parts amongst piles of burning, twisted metal, tracks and train parts. The emotional scene was no less horrific than an actual physical train wreck. So much good was destroyed in that instant, when the train crashed.
Fires continued to burn for days, stretching into weeks. Rescue efforts focused on the lesser damaged part of the train, and those who could be saved. Clean-up efforts were hampered by the sheer magnitude of the damage and unfortunate timing. The worst of the damage was too toxic to remove or to clean up in the dead of winter. Some work would simply have to wait until the spring.
Many who heard of the accident, or simply happened to pass by, couldn’t help but stare at the carnage, unable to turn away, staring in disbelief. Others seemed to have felt it necessary to divert their eyes, unable to look at all, perhaps out of self-protection or respect for the injured. And still others seemed to stare directly into the smoldering remains, blind to reality, focusing their gaze on wishful thinking rather than the black smoke in plain sight.
Eventually damaged bits of the train were carted away and the survivors all transported to some alternative version of “safety,” where they began removing shrapnel, one piece at a time. But even so, bit of souls and fragments of hearts remained at the site of the crash. A complete cleanup unrealistic, too much exploded and scattered on impact.
And now, several months later, the train engine has righted back on the track and is chugging again. Slowly, but moving. Even while some carriages remain grounded at the scene and passengers are still hurting. It has been particularly upsetting to see that train pull away, leaving the remains of the wreck for others to clean up, set out on a proposed new course, seemingly indifferent to the earlier journey and all that came before. The train even has passengers onboard, some from before, some brand new. I am still perplexed at just who was issued a ticket for this next phase of the journey.
As I’ve tried to dust myself off and tend to my own wounds, I realize this: each passenger has a personal ‘black box’ from that train ride, with all the evidence in tact of what transpired before the crash. Maybe one day I’ll be able to make sense of it all, and pick out some good memories from the lifeless ashes that remain. The train has set off in a new direction, but many of us are left who can bear witness to what really happened: before, during and after. Maybe that’s all I have to do for now – care for and protect that black box until I am ready to make it of use.
For quite some time I’ve tried to stay in place, unsure of where to go or how to get there. But direction came from the most unlikely source: a blog reader, unaware of how I’ve been wrestling with this train metaphor, shared a vision of a new train, which I hope will provide safe passage.
As is often the case, this idea was the inspiration of a child, an intuitive 9-year-old who seems more in touch with how to traverse this life than many shattered adults. It is the children who show us the way, who know the path and lead us forward:
There is a “Love Train.” When you board it you are surrounded by spirit allies and spiritual family and the train takes you to new friends you are meant to meet. You can also ask to be taken to friendships that have broken down and then the spirits help you mend and heal those friendships.
There is a “Purple Lake” where you can float and feel completely surrounded and held by the love of the spirits, for as long as you like. You emerge reborn.
There is a “Love Hall,” a place where people can go when they are in need of the spirits topping up their ‘level of feeling loved.’
So from here I board the Love Train in search of the elusive, yet promised Purple Lake and Love Hall. I have my trusted black box safely under my arm, and leave knowing that damaged parts of me are still out there, at the scene, never to be recovered. And maybe that’s okay. My train is headed on a different journey too. The train was never more than a relationship, really, and now there are new relationships, and old rekindled ones, to carry me on. Slowly, but moving.