A Memorable Train Ride

November 21, 2016

by Lenette Toledo
Columban Lay Missionary

The author (L) and fellow CLM Catharina Son
Last March 2nd (2016), right after our retreat,  Catha and I decided to take the train back home. I always love to take the train because, aside from being comfortable, I enjoy looking at the beautiful landscape and scenery from my window. We bought tickets for the 5 o’clock evening train and to my delight it was twice cheaper than the bus. At 4:30pm, Fr. Philip and Paul drove us to the train station and made sure we were settled in our seats before they left! Two generous, kind, and hospitable people we have met in our journey! When I saw what the train looked like, I can only describe my reaction in two words! Oh! and Ahrrg! 

The windows were open which meant I had to brace myself from insects like mosquitoes and who knows what else! And it was windy, dusty and cold!! We couldn’t stop laughing when we realized and imagined how it will be sitting for 17 hours in such a rough journey. But it was not until the train started moving that we soon realized it was tougher and rougher than we had imagined! The train was really very slow and I felt I was horseback riding! It was awfully bumpy but surprisingly, rather than feeling agitated because of discomfort, I found myself so amused by the whole situation I couldn’t stop from laughing for a few minutes, so much so that our fellow passengers noticed our reaction and started to laugh with us! Whenever the train rattled we looked at each other and laughed! I had only one concern - will my body still be intact if I make it home the following day?! The train is divided into sections. I think we had the best accommodation compared to those of others where seats are made of wood and I can’t imagine the discomfort all night. 

Sunset from the train
Seventeen hours of rough journey with nothing else to do but to sit and feel my body bouncing and shaking, I was led to reflect on my personal journey here in my new mission for eight months which has been like a train ride. There were bouncing, rough and shaky times, hence God has been great as he kept His promise to carry me through His grace. Life can be very challenging sometimes but with positivity, humor and light heartedness, like my reaction to the train, I can beat all odds. After all, I was able to gaze at and bathe in the beauty of the magnificent sunset and beautiful scenery on my journey and empathize with the local people who can’t afford the expense of taking air-conditioned buses and planes. Surely, there is beauty in every experience even if at first it’s hard to notice. Just keep your eyes and heart open and you will see it!

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