My Sliding Doors Moment

Not ‘the last train to Clarkesville’.

Nor ‘the midnight train to Georgia’

Not even ‘the downtown train’ that Tom Waits

and Rod Stewart rode on vinyl

but that old steam train that took me all the way

from the monastery where I was sequestered

to be a priest, on the verge of making my final vows

to a life in the ‘real world’. where I met the woman who would be my wife.

and the mother of my three kids,

a career as a teacher, a writer, and the grandfather of six more kids,

the apples of my life,

a sliding doors moment:

the most momentous train ride I ever made.

43 thoughts on “My Sliding Doors Moment

  1. Wow! You were going to be a priest! That’s a massive lifestyle change. Do you remember what brought it about? I mean, you don’t have to tell me. But it’s a huge life moment. I can imagine it’s worth writing about.

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    • I do remember, Worms: it was a primal urge to be a father; I don’t mean the sexual act which I barely understood but the need to bring children forth into the world; the need to be a father; being in a seminary seemed a very hermetic existence —

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      • Well, I am sure you would be honest with me so I am going to be honest with you. 🙂 I want to know more, John. I want to know more about the decision, the thoughts you had on the train. Were you torn? Was it a tough decision? Did the other people at the seminary question you? Did you feel you were betraying God? And also, your comment about how hard it was to settle back into the “normal” world… such an interesting topic to write about. Hardly anybody has that experience. There must be loads you could say. I feel like you have doffed your cap at this topic. Of course, it’s your decision. But that’s my instinct. 🙂

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      • I will be honest, Worms, as far as memory allows. No, I was not torn. I did not look back. I did not feel I was betraying God though the parish priest said that I had and other harsh comments. I don’t feel comfortable discussing married life and teaching situation as it’s all rather personal. And di not in my opinion had much to do with settling back into the world —

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      • At one point of time, I had decided never to marry again. I was sure true love didn’t exist and I would never marry for anything but love. But when I finally found love, I realised I would have to fight the world and my beloved family for him–he is a Muslim and I come from Hindu family. So the long struggle was promised right at the beginning because I would never do anything to hurt my parents or without their permission.
        But it didnot scare me. The decision was so clear, so easy, even though it took seven years of waiting! 😀

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  2. A man full of surprises but I guess that connection to your soul is what makes you a great poet.
    My oldest son who is almost finished university to be a teacher also considered to be a priest. There are some similarities of the two callings, to guide people in life.

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  3. Epic. A runaway train from one “marriage” of sorts, to a full and juicy life you describe as the apple, almost like the one that tempted Adam and Eve. I only want to hear more about all of this. What an amazing journey.

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