So I’ve made it to 30th street station in Philadelphia to take my train to Newark. I’m ridiculously early for my train but as some great instructors once told me, “if you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.” So here I sit. Watching the masses shuffle back and forth like a colony of ants meticulously going about their business. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard at least 4 different languages so far, and seen some pretty obscene outfits. When you watch you can’t help but wonder what the end point is for each individual. Who is going home? Who is going to work? Who else had the crazy idea of going to India? Hah. You get the sense that your personal journey is either part of a much bigger picture, or…it is uniquely unimportant in its own right, and will never have a lasting effect on the others I see in this station. However, the fact that I am traveling to a country where this scene is virtually non-existent causes me to take inventory of the luxuries we see here today.
To my left there are gentlemen getting their shoes shines. I doubt shiny shoes will do me any good in the himalayas…and I doubt shiny shoes do anyone much quantifiable good. Sure job interviews, dates, armed forces inspections… but I’ve never heard of anyone getting turned down for a job because their shoes weren’t shined. I’ve never heard of a soldier not getting the medal of honor for bravery because the day he saved his mates…his boots were muddy.
I also just spent 7 bucks on a pretzel and a Gatorade. Both of which I wont finish; and will probably throw away before I board my train. I will probably not think twice about where the trash will go, or if recycling this one bottle makes a difference. Collectively I just really wont care…oh wait…I see a recycle bin…there is hope at last to not feel like a rich and unappreciative American 🙂
Perhaps the most striking thing in this station the statue dedicated to the lives of the workers killed while constructing the Pennsylvania railroads between 1941 and 1945. There is a 20 foot angel clutching the soul of a brave hard-working American ( i assume, could’ve been a migrant worker from almost anywhere). The man is lifeless as he slumps in the angels arms. Perhaps the most touching part of the statue is the angel whose face is not delighted, nor scared, nor reverent, but instead, a stern sorrow braces his expression. He seems to feel the loss of this soul, as much as the fatherless children at home, and the widow who now has to face the world alone. His wings stretch above another 10 feet as if to point his navigational beacons to “home”. A place that I do not fancy as reality, but none-the-less a place that inspires hope and purpose for many of my loved one. I imagine many people pass by the statue every day not looking up to take inventory, public or personal. everyone’s eyes are ground level in here. Only focused on what is directly ahead of them. No time to slow and think, or feel for that matter. No thought of how many lives were lost just so we could take the 186 regional to Newark International Airport. Well as for this anxious traveler…consider my inventory checked. Stay tuned.