My senior year in High School, I’m sitting at the National FFA Convention in Kansas City when I learned the greatest lesson FFA has to teach, I’m spellbound as the legendary Agricultural Broadcaster Orion Samuelson is giving the keynote address. Mr. Samuelson, the titan of our industry gave a great speech that for 45 minutes held the entire audience captive in his hands.He closed that day, as he often does, by quoting the Robert Hastings Poem The Station. It was an aha moment that I will never forget.
“Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long trip that spans the continent. We are traveling by train. Out the windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village halls. But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. Bands will be playing and flags waving. Once we get there our dreams will come true, and the pieces of our lives will fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. How restlessly we pace the aisles, damning the minutes for loitering – waiting, waiting, waiting for the station. “When we reach the station, that will be it!” we cry. “when I’m 18” “when I buy a new 450sl Mercedes-Benz!” “when I put the last kid through college” “when I have paid off the mortgage!” “when I get a promotion.” “when I reach the age of retirement,I shall live happily ever after!” Sooner or later we realize there is no station, no one place to arrive at once and and for all. The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly outdistances us. “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.” It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad. It is the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today. So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more, cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. The station will come soon enough.”We often forget that we get but four short years to wear that jacket and therefore forget to relish the moments while we’re in them. The greatest lesson that I learned in FFA is that the station will constantly outdistance us. We must enjoy the trip and keep grinding as we chase it. Our station will come soon enough.]]>