Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Bringing Back a Memory

Reading the news this morning about the Amtrak crash yesterday brought back a memory of my own. It was spring 1987. The youth of our church had just completed our first ever mission trip. We had gone from Wisconsin to New York City to do some work with the homeless at our denomination's ministry in midtown Manhattan. At the time the best way to make the trip for our group of 15 was Amtrak.

It was a wonderful week. We had done something new and exciting not just for our church, but for our denomination as well. It was among the first of this type of mission trip and we all had had a remarkable experience. As we were heading north on Amtrak heading home we were all just sitting enjoying the warmth of having done something new and different.

When in an instant the air brakes slammed closed and we went screeching and bumping for what seemed like forever. It was around dusk, as I remember it, and all I could see out the left windows of the coach was water- the Hudson River. I had no idea how close we were to the water, what was going on or if we were about to jump the tracks.

My favorite four-letter word came out.


Thankfully we came to a stop without derailing. The bump I felt and heard was a 4WD truck that had gotten stuck on the tracks- where there wasn't a crossing. No one was in the truck and no one on the train was hurt. We eventually (hours later) began to move on toward Albany where they gave us a new head-end but many of the cars, our included, had little idiosyncrasies as a result.

We were late to make connections and late to get home, but we were safe and sound.

The news from Philly today gave me pause at our not being hurt and that no one our train was killed.

Life can change in an instant- and it usually isn't something we expect at a time we want.

One of the reasons I have since learned the importance of letting people know how much I care about them and how important they are to me. Life is fragile. Keep the important things first.

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