Why Do Trains Run Off with Our Imagination?

Monet Train

Every time my two-year old son hears a train, he gets really excited.  He rushes to the window and shouts, “Car! Car!”  (which is the closes he can get to “Choo, Choo” at the moment).

His antics make me smile, but I have to admit – I myself have always found there to be something fascinating about trains.  What is it about these powerful locomotives that make it impossible to stop them from stealing down the tracks with our imaginations firmly in tow?

Personally, I think it’s the same thing that makes me stop and stare when an airplane flies overhead, or what has kept me staring for countless minutes at the endless swarm of automobiles swooshing down the road.

It’s all about the journey.

The train rushes off into the distant horizon until it is out of sight, and we think to ourselves, Where are they going?  What is their destination?  And then, the real kicker:  Where am I going?

During college I used to drive under a particular bridge every day, and often a train would be clattering across the bridge as I passed beneath it.  Every time this happened, I couldn’t help musing a small prayer:  Where am I going in life, Lord?  Where are You taking me?

The thing is, I don’t think we really want the answer.  If we had our life completely mapped out it would feel a little suffocating, and we’d probably start working on how to change it.

No, it’s better to leave the future in the realm of the unknown – to leave it in the Lord’s hands,  and dream of countless possibilities.

And that’s exactly what I’ll do – every time I see a train.

Photo Credit:  “Train in the Snow” by Claude Monet; Oil on Canvas; 1875.  Housed in the Musee Marmottan in Paris, France.

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