The Morgan Church Devotional

a pastor's thoughts about...uhm...stuff

Location: Morgan, VT., United States

follower of Jesus. husband & father. friend. pastor.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


*disclaimer: i have no idea how accurate the information herein sounded good to me...*

the engineer started the enormous deisel engines. He wore a Casey Jones hat on his head and big leather work gloves on his hands. He took the gloves off when they weren’t needed but he always left his hat on. He said it "made him right for the job".

It took a while to start those engines. Sometimes, in late fall or in the cold of winter, he wished starting up the engines was more like atarting his car; just turn the key and go; you don’t even have to step on the gas pedal anymore, fuel injection does it for you.

But most times he relished in the process. Turn the key and wait. Wait until the fuel warms and is able to fire. It took a patient man. He sometimes thought he would be better off applying this gift of patience to other parts of his life...traffic, his wife, his kids...oh, how he needed to be more patient with them! But a gift is only good for what it’s good for and he had a gift for waiting for these engines.

Soon enough the engines had the power to begin moving and he’d ease the engine down the tracks to pick up the rest of the train. This was always the most dangerous part of the trip. There were other trains in various stages of passage; some coming in, some going out, some warming up or cooling down and there were always men around the tracks, deaf to his train in the din and clang of all those other trains. He had many friends maimed and a few killed in the process. He was glad he became an engineer and was off the tracks. So was his wife.

She had the patience he lacked. She calmly said things over and over to him when he couldn’t hear her. She didn’t scold him for not wearing his earplugs when he was on the train (the reason he cited for not being able to hear her). she smiled serenely at him when he shouted "GOOD MORNING, HON. I LOVE YOU" all the way from the other side of the bed.

but she was glad he was off the tracks.

the engineer picked up his load. They (he still doesn’t know who "they" are) decide that the train is large enough to warrant two engine cars. It’s a good thing he is a patient train man. He walks the half a mile or so to get the other engine and starts the process again.

(In what seems like a half a day later) the engineer has both engines hooked up to his load and begins the long pull. The engines are too big to whine, but whine they do, as they strain to budge the load. There is an art to starting trains; you have to use force, but you can’t jerk it, God forbid stall the engines. As he always does, he leans his weight forward, co-operating with gravity to move the train. He thinks it helps and chuckles everytime he does it, remembering his wife’s good natured ribbing about being able to "will" something into existence.

Soon, the train is chugging along as rough as a ride along the surface of the moon. The engineer likes this part of the trip. He enjoys the fits and starts and the Ralph Kramden like lurches and halts. He enjoys the overwhelming noise of the engines that seems to surround him and embrace him like a heavy winter coat soaked in warm water. He enjoys the pull of the engines and glances at his watch and makes a mental note of when inertia begins to kick in. He enjoys the chug of the engine and gets a thrill at the exact moment when the train’s momentum makes stopping a seeming impossibility.

He thinks of March snow storms and the rough and tumble of winter’s end. He knows that, like Spring, the train is slow in coming, but come it always will.


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