The truth is, I live at home in the suburbs and still depend on my parents financially for many things, probably more than I should.
Living forty miles outside of the city, the commute to work each day can become quite the ordeal. After years of commuting into downtown, my dad has finally passed the torch along to me, and you can find me on the 8:03 train out of Pingree fives days a week.
The hour and twenty minutes that I spend on the train each day, twice a day can sometimes prove pretty long, and if it weren’t for my Bible, my headphones, and my self-indulgent need to write blog posts about myself, I think I would have lost my mind in the first week.
Heading into downtown in the morning is not half bad. It’s the beginning of the day, so I’m excited for work and to get into my bible, and of course, to write about myself. The ride in is great. It’s the ride home when things get rough. After a long day downtown, walking out of the door at work and knowing that I won’t be walking into my house for another two hours hurts my fragile little soul.
My least favorite part of the journey is the moment we leave the downtown station. From the window of the train, I can look down and see the tracks below. It’s a sight to behold, a labyrinth of seemingly endless metal make up the “track” below. There is no way for the untrained eye to determine where one track ends and another begins. To me, it just looks like a mess of steel, wood, bolts, and levers. As the train navigates its course over all the changing tracks, it makes the most horrible squeaking, squealing noise. Something like….
This goes on for a good two minutes before it gets better. And finally we end up on our correct track and begin speeding for home.
The commonly believed notion is that any journey is always most difficult between halfway and three fourths done. This may be true. But let us not dis-count the debilitating effect that a rocky start, a bad beginning, can have on us. And let’s be honest, when embarking on a journey, our beginnings are rarely smooth. When beginning a road trip, it takes the moment for the GPS to find it’s signal. While the plane rises to it’s appropriate altitude, you’re not allowed to use your electronics, which is just pure torture, isn’t it? And don’t even make me mention the squealing train again.
The beginning of a journey can be rough, and is often riddled with bumps and squeaks and bends. And if we look down at the tracks below us, we fail to see how and where they are leading us. The directions are all so mixed up and we cannot make sense of them. But that’s because we have untrained eyes.
The moment we make a decision to follow God is the moment we sign the contract to go on an epic journey. And within the larger journey, God calls us on many sub-quests along the way. Most of us fear the beginning of the journey so much that we never even leave the station. And it’s true, whether it’s the larger journey of our lives, or a tiny sub-quest, starting can be horrifying, because way too often, we can’t see clearly where we’re going. We’re like the disciples, sailing through the middle of a storm; we’re unable to see a path to the shore. This is why we put our trust in the one who has the trained eye, and who is above the storm. The one who has a different perspective on the tracks, and can see how they all fit together. The one who is able to change the course of our journey, even when we make a wrong turn, to help us get to the desired end.
So perhaps all this squeaking of the tracks, while annoying, is also necessary. Perhaps the annoying squealing at the beginning of your journey is simply God pulling the levers to get you on the right track. He is able to make sense of the mess of metal and wood and bolts, and is able to put us on the right track in order to bring us home.
So if you’re in the midst of starting something, and your journey has had it’s fair share of bumps and re-routes thus far, I hope you’ll think on this. A rocky start isn’t always a sign that you’re on the wrong quest. Often times, later on, it serves as proof that God was simply pulling levers to get you in the right track.