I was standing on the elevated train platform on Kings Highway and East 16th Street, waiting on the Q train to come and take me to where I needed to be. It was a late February Brooklyn morning and as I leaned over to see if anything was heading our way – I saw nothing but an empty track. The track rolls along an open path in plain sight, there are no obstacles – so if the train is 3 or 4 stops away – you will be able to see something moving in the distance and let out a breath and say, “About time.”
Some may thing this is a metaphor. The Q can mean “Queen” and the tracks can be a future that one is waiting on.
In my case though – I was waiting for the train.
But there is a “Wait” that we all go through – we grow up dreaming of some sort of future and end up living a whole different life. No one is ever truly sure if the life that came through turned out better than the dream – but in each person’s life there are countless dreams that constantly are born and alive. Still we continue waiting.
Some dreams can seem like a never ending nightmare where we are hoping for the alarm clock to wake us up.
Other dreams are like a perfect summer’s day in June – that we spend the rest of the summer trying to duplicate only to end up falling short but having a good day none-the less.
Some dreams are like a Snow Day is to a child – no school and all play, mommy in the kitchen making some hot chocolate, TV humming in the living room as your sister or brother watch. You standing by the window watching the snowflakes congregating on the cars, trees and the streets.
Some dreams begin and end with no proof of ever taking place. I knew an older man who once told me that everything he had was taken away from him in Germany during the late 1930’s and 40’s. He was 12 years old, living with his parents and 6 brothers and sisters and getting ready to be Bar-Mitzva’d within a year. One night, they were taken out of their home by force – whatever possessions they had were left in their apartment. Within a month he was alone – his parents and siblings sent to different camps. He survived the war, barely, and found himself an orphan at 15 years old – with no siblings, pictures or souvenirs of a life and a future that had been stolen from him in plane sight. He moved to New York where he had an Uncle, got married and had his own children and grandchildren.
“But somewhere there are millions of souls still trying to get back what was taken from them. My soul was lost – from when I left Europe until I had my first child is all a blur to me. But when I saw my baby for the first time, snuggled in his blanket and safe from this world, I began to live again. I cried for hours, days hell even years. I began to feel and it kept me up at night – we all had dreams…but I had been given the life that so many had stolen from them.”
“My eldest brother wanted to move to Jerusalem, my sisters wanted to get married and be mothers and wives – while my younger brothers wanted to just play. Just play – can you imagine something as simple as ‘Just Play’? They all disappeared with no trace of ever having existed besides letters typed onto paper. Those letters cannot express the dreams, the joys, the fears they each possessed. The look my mother would give me when she was upset – it would send chills up my spine. The feel of my fathers beard against my face when he would kiss me as I lay sleeping…”
“My friends, who were all excited about getting bar-mitzvahed that year…they had dreams and aspirations back then as well. My friend Avram wanted to be a Doctor – can you imagine? A doctor? What if he would’ve been the Doctor who cured cancer? Instead the cures, the dreams, the aspiration lay in ashes on the ground. No proof of ever having had the parents or the day to day lives we enjoyed once upon a time. What we did have was our faith – that no one could ever take away”
I would always walk away from my old friend feeling that we have been given the opportunity so many have had taken from them. I would walk away feeling that I was a thief of time – having wasted whatever time had been allotted to me. I would walk away in awe of people who were able to continue to have faith in a God who possibly fell asleep at the wheel.
This was a long time ago – maybe ten or fifteen years ago – I learned from him that nothing lasts forever. Not love,not people, not time, not pain, sadness, joy, laughter – nothing is immortal – everything is transient – from one emotion to the next, from one second to the next – nothing stops moving, evolving, revolving or spinning in its place. The rivers keep flowing and the arms on the clock keep on moving – the sun rises, the sun sets, the moon rises and then goes away again.
But faith – a true belief is something no one can ever take away.
So dream big, live bigger; love a lot and express it even more.
Take the time to soak it all in – to ingest and to invest in the stuff that is vital to existence – the stuff that “Dreams are made of.” You will find that there are things in life that not even time can take away.
Paint your masterpiece and paint it over and over again…that train will find its way towards you in time – all in its time.