Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hurtling Through Life

East Broad Top Railroad
Orbisonia, PA
As children, my brother, sisters and I could hear the whistle of a train several times throughout every day. The tracks dissected our little town. Depending on the weather, the whistle was sometimes loud and clear; at other times it seemed muffled by the humid air of summer or the dampening of a million snowflakes in winter.

As the train approached the center of town, the whistle would crescendo to the point of piercing, and then decrescendo to a whisper in the distance. Even from five blocks away, we could hear the train wheels go clacked-y-clack, clacked-y-clack on the tracks when the train crossed the overpass.

Though hard to believe, the sound of the whistle sometimes blew unnoticed, even in summer with all the windows open. Repetition can dull our ears to even the most obvious and persistent sounds. On sleepless nights the sound punctuated the darkness and underlined the obvious—you are still awake . . . you are not getting the sleep you need.

Despite the station still situated near the underpass, the railroad companies no longer service our area. Once busy, the town is now devoid of those industries that required rail service. The train just hurries through, its clacking and roaring and whistling seeming to say, “I have more important places to be, more important people to transport, and precious cargo to deliver.

In those wee hours of a sleepless night one might consider the whistle of a train a lonely reminder that life is moving on. However, I wonder if it might be an opportunity God gives to take stock of where our life is going and to re-examine who and what is precious and important to us.

With Thanksgiving upon us and the "countdown" to Christmas just ahead,  are we like the train, hurtling our way through life? Are we so intent on getting everything done that we bypass devotions with God and miss fleeting moments with loved ones who deserve our time and attention in more than a cursory way? Is God trying to blow the whistle on us? Are we listening or have we grown accustomed to his persistent voice and don’t really hear it anymore? Let us heed God's warning whistle so that Jesus will never say of us, 

"These people have become close-minded and hard of hearing.
They have shut their eyes so that their eyes never see.
Their ears never hear. Their minds never understand."
Matthew 13:15

©2012 Pamela D. Williams