“The governor’s office is line two for you.” My heart pounded.  

Once again someone not the governor had the chore of telling the unchosen prior to the press release that said it wasn’t you. 

I’d applied to be a juvenile court judge. I detailed my career accomplishments, got glowing references, and confidently answered questions before the judicial nominating commission of nine. They advanced my name on the short list of the qualified. I travelled to the state capitol to interview with the governor. 

“Next time,” the caller once consoled. Initially I was sufficiently politically naïve to believe them.  I resisted warnings that being an advocate for equality as the past president of the Nebraska chapter of the National Organization for Women disqualified me from being a judge in a state whose motto is “Equality before the law.” With each vacancy I, I tried again. 

One by one I attended the swearing in ceremonies of Larry, Liz, Doug, Wadie, and Bob. Thereafter I would address my friends as “Your Honor” or “Judge”. The bruise of my ego was less than my sureness of being a disappointment to Mom and especially to my children. 

For years at parties and Thanksgivings well-meaning friends and family asked, “Are you a judge yet?” I could hardly blame them. Unlike a private online job pursuit, this process was public. The local paper announced each opening, application, and appointment. That I’d disappointed the questioners stung for years. 

Author Marianne Williamson said, “If a train doesn’t stop at your station, then it’s not your train.” 

Each time I thought it was my train. Turns out the first one belonged to Larry. Last week I learned that Larry was retiring. He faithfully served families in our community and led the creation of a statewide collaboration to make our juvenile justice system better.  That first train came and went in 1992. 

I waited. While on the platform I would watch my brother die of AIDS, grow my law firm, and fall in love anew. 

My train did come along for nearly another decade. It said, “Life Coach, Speaker, Guide.”  Until it stopped right in front of me, I never fully understood why all the others hadn’t. 

I’m grateful that Larry caught his and that mine arrived on schedule. I trust wholeheartedly that more wonderful travels await each of us, enjoying the ride and the beautiful views. 

Coach Koenig 

Have you ever worried you train will never arrive? 

What trains are you glad you let pass you by? 

Which train will you get on next?