Wednesday, December 28, 2011

5:57 a.m. Train

Most days, I barely notice the trains that surge through town before daylight, yet this a.m. while letting a dog out, the throbbing wave of a moving train met me at my kitchen door.

As a little girl and a teen bride, train tracks ran nearly adjacent to the affordable rentals I called home. In my lifetime train tracks were repurposed, converted to bike trails and walking paths. This morning, tracks a few blocks east of this house - my home for more years than any other place on earth - remind me how far the little girl has traveled.

Tracks across the Midwest rusted silently for decades before being invigorated by new-to-us sand mines that feed hydraulic fracturing, the extraction of natural gas and petroleum. In the media frenzy surrounding this new-to-me technology and the economic boom the mining brings to rural communities, the lonely sound of a moving train transports me to an office, in a home where the property adjoins one of those bike trails, a place of faith and prayer. We are working on a project. I am sitting at a desk, working on a computer. I am in tears. I remember the comfort of the hands on my shoulders, the softly spoken words.

In the chaotic "Not In My Back Yard" reaction to sand mines, there are fists and tears. We forfeit friendships with loud voices and blame big business for our woes, when it is our neighbors who sold the mining rights to keep family farms, our daughters and sons who work the mines and oil fields to feed and cloth our grandchildren. Sand mines are driven by our own human greed for fossil fuels, bigger houses to heat, the many-too-many trips to the shopping mall, our multiple-car lifestyles, the commitment to commuting.

Our choices make mining profitable, the fists and tears possible.

In the selfish panic of "Me Me Me" we lose the human connections, the softly spoken words that bring us closer in Christ.

I couldn't stop thanking God for you—every time
I prayed, I'd think of you and give thanks. But I do
more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master,
Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent
and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes
focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what
it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of
this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh,
the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him
—endless energy, boundless strength!
Ephesians 1:1 MSG

Like the steel wheels of a train, prayer rubs the rust from the tracks of our human hearts, moves us toward the miraculous healing power of God.


North Dakota
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