Train

Keeping a blog up is like making instant oatmeal. Some days you wake up and start mixing oats and hot water because you’re hungry for it, other days you wake up and wish you could just eat some bacon and/or not write a blog. And while I don’t have any bacon, I do have a moment to get some stuff on radblog that talks about seasons. So just sit right back while I ruminate for the next 600 or so words.

We’re like passengers on a subway train. The track decides where we go and a nice prerecorded lady announces where we’re at. As the train moves on, the momentum causes me to stumble a little and bump into a homeless guy, my “excuse me” hardly noticed by him and immediately forgiven by the other passengers who experienced the same gravitational shift. I occasionally make eye contact with the people who share this car with me, but for the most part I find myself looking out a window as a small section of world watches us go by, the shared experience of every person with a destination in mind being forced to endure the inconvenience of traveling from point A to B.

The sharply dressed stand near the door. As soon as the train comes to the appropriate stop, they’ll be the first off the train, first to the stairs, first to the office and last to go home.


Students wearing University logo hoodies sit awkwardly, their feet having landed in one spot on the train floor and not moving during the entire trip. They will assume the same position in an undergraduate classroom, where they will learn business techniques that will land them a job and a spot near the door of the train.

Single mom holding baby and reusable shopping bag tries to make a move on a potential new dad sitting beside her, but baby cries and ruins the whole thing. Babies do that, I guess.

The difference between God and the driver of the train is knowledge and love. The train operator may have the skill to run the train but does not know who is on the train behind him. Even if he had every passenger on a list, he doesn’t know the people, not like God does. Train driver may even be loving and may even say “I love this job” and “I love these people”, but remember — he doesn’t know them. God knows them. And loves them. Oh. And he also knows a thing or two about operating a subway train, though He has left that task to Duane. Yes. I have named the train operator Duane. Duane McMurtry. He lives on the south side, near Western & 63rd with a Jack Russel Terrier named, fittingly, Jack. Having a dog in the city isn’t easy but he makes due. Jack is the only litter-box-trained dog in his building.

Here’s where I stop. Public Library. Someone just told me that they will give you the books for FREE, as long as you promise to return them in a timely fashion. Otherwise, you’ll be fined and fined again, and no one wants to get sent to collections because of an overdue library book. I hear my stop announced and proceed to the door. As I walk past single mom with baby, I offer a smile of kindness. Nothing. Homeless guy is napping next to business guy whose shoulder is serving as a pillow. He’s fine with it and so am I. A head nod given and received as I step on to the platform and down the stairs, ready to return books to the library so as to avoid a fine.

There are similarities and differences on the ride back home. Same hard, plastic seats and metal handrails but all going in the opposite direction. Same prerecorded lady who now announces the stops in backwards order. No businessmen and no students, but there’s a baby crying somewhere. Occasional eye contact but mostly blank stares at the window.

Duane is in the front car, whistling while he watches the light change for the upcoming track switch. Red. Green. The train rolls on.

About radamdavidson

I'm a husband, dad, and pastor living in Portage, Michigan. I suppose I'm a euphoric melancholy generalist with average skills, experiences, and passions across several intertwined disciplines and hobbies including music, speaking, writing, leadership, ministry, and collecting cultural artifacts from the 1980's -- mostly vintage boomboxes. You can read my blog at www.radamdavidson.com, subscribe to my podcast (RadCast) or friend me on facebook.com/radamdavidson. about.me/radamdavidson
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