The other night we were at our young adult Bible study, one we’ve been attending now for over a year. Throughout the study I was incredibly, distracted and withdrawn (which isn’t necessarily unusual). For some reason, a train wreck that took place over a year ago in Quebec crossed my mind and prompted these thoughts:
2 Trains At Lac-Mégantic
“I was turning around in circles, I didn’t know what to do.”- report from an eyewitness, a victim
When I pray, at church, small group or perhaps before I sleep
I often feel as though there are two trains, silent but fast
There’s me on one side. And everyone else.
“Dear Lord,” we begin and the trains move apart.
A boy on my childhood street used to trap squirrels in his backyard
(He told me about this later, though I didn’t ask or care)
Then he’d drown them, lowering the traps into a bucket of water
raising them for long enough to ensure hopeful panic
then dropping them with a vengeance.
I prayed for him alone on my train.
Sometimes I find myself alone at night
reading books about Bombai and prisons in Africa.
I cannot sleep for the torture in these pages
somewhere across and ocean, financial and language barriers.
But I pray for them alone on my train.
I smoke a cigarette outside Musi-Café
reading my book and thinking about my neighbor
I heard he got saved, came to Jesus, at some prayer meeting or another.
I read and wonder; there’s no salvation for squirrels.
A train is barreling down the hill, fastest I’ve ever seen
in my life, the engine of the apocalypse, fire and judgment.
And I am sorry for it all. For the doubt, the oil and the questions
But the train does not stop.
Why doesn’t it stop?
Broken brakes. Deluded faith.
The train does not stop
on my side of the ocean
my side of the tracks.