“The inbound train is an express train and it will not stop.”
I hear the station’s announcement system over the piano and strings playing in my earbuds. Sure enough, the train shuttles through quietly. At the intersection of the tracks and the road, red and white bars have previously lowered themselves without ceremony. Lights flash on and off without sound.
The piano in my ears arpeggiates in rolling consistency, almost in time with the chug of the train. It’s a short train, just a few cars of busy people who live in the far out suburbs of Chicago. They ride the express to their high-paying jobs while it is light in the morning. On their way home, their seats on the train will be lit with a greenish glare, revealing their heads bent down at 45 degrees, both absorbed and bored by their cell phones.
Behind the train rises a clutter of litter. One piece of white something rises above, caught in a current. It whips around with surprising grace, tracing after the route of the train until it passes out of my view.
The violin and cello rasp in their comforting earthy way, and tears freeze on my cheeks.
After my dad died, I felt like I had been shouting at a locomotive. The will of God would not stop for me and my childish voice. The sovereign path of the Almighty was predecided and nothing I could say would change that.
It’s been four and a half years since I sat on the steps in my backyard and mentally watched the locomotive go by. And I told God I felt like he hadn’t heard me.
It only took a few months for me to see myself as a passenger on the train again. Maybe I didn’t have the authority to call for a stop at any given station, but I was en route to where God was going. I knew my work as a missionary had purpose and my goals were more or less seated in the expectation of his Kingdom advancing.
I still expect the Kingdom to come, but without explictly working for that end, it’s hard to know where I stand, or sit, or ride. Getting off the missionary train has meant that I sleep more, spend more time with my kids, and feel a lot more confused about my life.
Today, I know less than ever. I’m like the white something fluttering noiselessly behind the express train. God is going somewhere. I want to go too.