The station

BUSINESS MATTERS BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - October 17, 2020 - 12:00am

Have you ever heard of the term “Revenge Travel?”

Look it up, and you will see that the concept of revenge travel builds on the belief that many of us share, that customers will look at travel as a gift. Once it opens up again, customers will add more destinations to their lists and travel even more than they did before. Recent surveys have indicated that people still want to travel if COVID-19 dissipates and travel restrictions eased. My suggestion is if it does, support our local businesses and do domestic travel first.

I traveled a lot. Mostly by plane but some of the most memorable travel experiences involved travels through trains. Not the super-fast bullet trains of Japan called Shinkansen reaching a top speed of 320 km/h and that can bring me from Tokyo to Osaka in just two and a half hours, please do not get me wrong. The ride is very comfortable, and good food is served during the trip. The train rides I enjoyed the most are those slower trains in Europe, specifically the scenic routes that took me from the resort place of Treviso to Milan that covered 239 kilometers and more than four hours of travel. Every station-stop is picturesque and has a postcard beauty quality in it. The pandemic has made me reminisce about those days of travel, and with the things happening around us, it reminds me of a beautiful article written by Robert J. Hastings entitled: “The Station.” I hope it will bless your heart as it has blessed mine.

Tucked away in our subconscious minds is an idyllic vision in which we see ourselves on a long journey that spans an entire continent. We’re traveling by train and, from the windows, we drink in the passing scenes of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at crossings, of cattle grazing in distant pastures, of smoke pouring from power plants, of rowa upon row of cotton and corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, or city skylines and village halls.

But uppermost in our minds is our final destination – for at a certain hour and on a given day, our train will finally pull into the station with bells ringing, flags waving, and bands playing. And once that day comes, so many wonderful dreams will come true. So restlessly, we pace the aisles and count the miles, peering ahead, waiting, waiting for the station.

“Yes, when we reach the station, that will be it!” we promise ourselves. “When we’re eighteen... win that promotion... put the last kid through college... buy that 450 SL Mercedes Benz... pay off the mortgage... have a nest egg for retirement.”

From that day on, we will all live happily ever after.

Sooner or later, however, we must realize there is no station in this life, no one earthly place to arrive at once and for all. The journey is the joy. The station is an illusion—it constantly outdistances us. Yesterday’s a memory; tomorrow’s a dream. Yesterday belongs to history; tomorrow belongs to God. Yesterday’s a fading sunset; tomorrow’s a faint sunrise. Only today is there light enough to love and live.

So, gently close the door of yesterday and throw the key away. It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad, but rather the regret over yesterday and tomorrow’s fear.

“Relish the moment” is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, swim more rivers, climb more mountains, kiss more babies, count more stars. Laugh more and cry less. Go barefoot more often. Eat more ice cream. Ride more merry-go-rounds. Watch more sunsets. Life must be lived as we go along.

Beautiful, isn’t it?

Now just a reminder, kissing babies, riding merry-go-rounds, swimming rivers and climbing mountains, and all these activities you do one day when the pandemic is gone, but not just yet. Then we can have our revenge travels.

Meanwhile, take life as a gift and moments with our loved ones locked down in our homes as a blessing. It is not about the destination; it is all about the journey.



(Connect with Francis Kong at www.facebook.com/franciskong2. Or listen to “Business Matters” Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. over 98.7 dzFE-FM ‘The Master’s Touch,’ the classical music station.)

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