I had arrived, and amid the jungle of other passengers, I could see the station block. Everyone was rising to fetch their bags from the overhead compartments, standing in hunched groups while waiting for others to exit.
For my own part, I had nothing more than a small suitcase–a slate-blue, threadbare affair that had served me well throughout all my travels. Pulling it gently down from the overhead compartment, I rested it on the yellow seat and stood waiting.
As soon as the door opened, the passengers began heading steadily for the door. A lady holding her son by the hand brushed by me, and the boy bumped into one of the seats, dropping a scarf he had half-stuffed into his backpack.
“Ma’am! Excuse me, ma’am,” I said, picking up the scarf and holding it out. “Your boy dropped this.”
Turning, the woman’s careworn face broke into a quick smile. “Thank you!” Turning to her boy, “Burt, you need to be more careful!” They turned and hurried on.
A younger man with reddish hair and a green puffer vest chuckled at the exchange as he walked ahead of me towards the exit. “That’s good karma,” he said. “Something good will happen to you today.”
I shook my head with a grin, “Karma won’t help me now I’m afraid. But, I think you’re right about today.” The puffer-vested man shrugged, stepped off the platform, and hopped off to whatever his destination was.
I arrived at the exit, and looked out at the station. The station landing was breathtaking, a tile-work tapestry of patterns and pictures. Glossy squares made up a sky-blue ocean that spread out on the station floor. Sea monsters peeked out from below, and ships flying full sail cut through the white-tipped waves.
It was a lovely scene, but it was also time to continue. I felt that same familiar flutter I always feel upon venturing home to dear friends and family–the excitement of reunion mixed with the uncertainty and shyness of meeting familiar faces that aren’t quite the same as the time before. But it was all very exciting, so I stepped out onto the waves.
Suddenly, I heard a chorus of familiar voices yelling all sorts of different things at once. “Hurray! You made it! You’re finally here!”
Inspired by Bonhoeffer’s poem “Stations on the Road to Freedom” and biographer Eric Metaxas’s statement:
Bonhoeffer thought of death as the last station on the road to freedom.