Time as the Train Track
On Sunday following worship, I headed home towards Durham at about 1:15pm as I normally do. On this particular day I needed to make a pit stop in Cary. Not knowing Cary very well, I put the name of the place into my map app on my phone and just listened to Siri dictate the steps I’d need to take to reach my destination. If only it were that easy? I discovered that there is more than one Motel 6 in Cary; and that, in fact, Cary is more of a paint splatter than a drop in the bucket. After about 30 minutes of driving around - in the wrong direction - my gas light dinged, so I had to look again at the map to find a gas station. At this point, I could see that I was nowhere near the Motel 6. After filling up, I headed back out again. As I continued driving, I noticed that I was paralleling an old train track; my car weaving left and right and around and back again to where I could see the straight, narrow tracks that continued steadily onward towards their destination.
As I sat still for a few moments at the red light the most amazing discovery lent itself to my musings. We are a people so accustomed to the freedoms we demand that losing our way has become a luxury. Sometimes we forget how important those tracks were to us in our earliest needs to navigate a brand new world. Helping us go the distance, forging ahead, but not having to sit in the driver’s seat. While we didn’t know exactly what we would find at the end of the rail, one thing was certain, we could trust the track to get us to where we were going.
We are called to a radical way of being together in this world: to a love that would upend much of what we have made our lives to be about. It is overwhelming to imagine all the changes that we need to make in order that this love might be realized by those who seem to dance on the margins of life outside of what society has deemed acceptable and worthy of love.
Perhaps we need to get back on the train for a while; forget about wandering to and fro; forget about navigating our own way; give up the driver’s seat and let the rituals, spiritual practices, and rhythms of life guide our steps.
After arriving at Motel 6, I sat waiting for another 1.5 hours attempting to offer a benevolent gift. It’s a good reminder that this call to radicalizing love is not a welcome one in a society that resists time as the train track.
"God, give us the faith we need to let Spirit lead. Give us the grace we need to love ourselves through it, and give us the Hope we need to endure the journey. Amen."
May the spirit lead the way,
Rev. Jenny Shultz-Thomas