The topic for discussion this month is: CHOICES.
I picked it because I’m a slacker. I CHOSE to make NO resolutions for this new year. Perhaps the lesson here is: if I make a choice, I have to be prepared for the consequences which in this case is guilt.
This pithy, but trite epiphany came to me four days into 2010 as I punched my pillow into a softer mass, then I lay, mentally demanding sleep to overtake me. What came instead was a familiar, nostalgic sound.
Around 2am, the whistle of a faraway train rolled through valleys and fog, drifting past my darkened windows.
On previous nights, the sound has always made me pause and listen if I were still awake. The tracks aren’t nearby, and I don’t hear the whistle during the day. But when folks are tucked in their beds and cars parked in driveways, then the night is free to carry the melody of the locomotive slicing through the next town.
I wondered if there were passengers. Were they traveling this late because Uncle Martin was ill and they’re trying to get to him? Was someone else awake too, kinked up in a seat too short for their legs with an unsupportive gap at their lower back? Maybe they’re slouched at the bar, watching their beer make waves in their plastic cup.
What slipped through my thoughts next, surprised me. It was a prayer. “Please help the people on the train carry their burdens.”
I’m not one of those sweet, soft-spoken women of faith. I tried, but I keep migrating toward the crabby, let’s-get-it-all-out-there-and-be-real-about-it believer-type. I figure that God made me and knew what He was doing, so I’m going with the flawed me.
This supplication wasn’t exactly a new development. I toss out a request when I see the flashing lights of an emergency vehicle. “Lord, please help whoever that fire truck is going to rescue.” Then one day I saw an ambulance stop, turn around, drive a few blocks, stop, turn around again. They were lost. I figured I should add drivers and EMTs to any requests for divine emergency assistance.
So after the night train to somewhere whistled, I decided to make it a habit to answer the haunting call with a prayer. It made me smile, even though I couldn’t sleep.
Especially when I realized my choice just made a resolution for the new year.