T42D: The journey of life
This week Rodders takes us on a trip.
At the Shed Zoom meeting on Wednesday 14 October, Howard Nichols gave a fascinating talk about the history of the railways in the UK with a particular reference to the classic locomotive, the ‘Flying Scotsman’, built in 1923.
An inaugural non-stop run from Kings Cross to Edinburgh was completed on 1 May 1928. BBC 4 did a 30-minute production on the Gresley A3 4472/60103 ‘Flying Scotsman’ back in January 2016 when the engine returned on the East Lancs Railway, after a ten-year overhaul.
As I watched the clip of the train, hurtling along at 75 mph [although, on 30 November 1934 a world record was achieved for the first time, by the ‘Flying Scotsman’ reaching a speed of 100 mph] I could not help thinking that life is like a train journey.
I came across this written by Jean d’Ormesson, a French philosopher and writer [who died age 92 in 2017]:
‘At birth, we boarded the train of life and met our parents, and we believed that they would always travel by our side. However, at some station, our parents would step down from the train, leaving us on life’s journey alone.
As time goes by, some significant people will board the train: siblings, other children, friends, and even the love of our life.
Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum. Others will go so unnoticed that we won’t realise that they vacated their seats! This train ride has been a mixture of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells.
A successful journey consists of having a good relationship with all passengers, requiring that we give the best of ourselves. The mystery that prevails is that we do not know at which station we ourselves will step down. Thus, we must try to travel along the track of life in the best possible way — loving, forgiving, giving, and sharing.
When the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty — we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who continue to travel on the train of life.’
G K Chesterton [29 May 1874–14 June 1936] an English writer, philosopher, lay theologian, literary and art critic, amusingly said: “The only way to be sure of catching a train is to miss the one before it!”
Princess Diana said, ‘Life is just a journey’.
Each one of us is on a journey and to date we have all travelled many years. Sometimes, as we reflect on our life, we can be amazed at what we have achieved. It is a good job we do not know what is round the corner.
As Dan Rather said, ‘If all difficulties were known at the outset of a long journey, most of us would never start out at all’.
I have always loved the book by John Bunyan, written whilst in prison because of his faith, entitled ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’, which was published in 1678. It tells the story of a pilgrim, called Christian, who leaves his wife and family, in the city of Destruction to relieve himself of the heavy burden he is carrying –his sin- which would cause him to sink into Hell. He meets Evangelist who directs him to the Wicket Gate, where he can find deliverance as his burden rolls away at the foot of the Cross. He then journeys to his ultimate destination of the Celestial City. There are many trials, tests to face and tribulations along the way and Bunyan cleverly depicts these, which we all face, as real physical events. It is a superb analogy of life’s journey but also of our ultimate destination.
Corrie ten Boom, [died April 15, 1983] was a Holocaust survivor who started a rehabilitation centre for concentration camp survivors as well as a global ministry to preach the power of forgiveness. She wrote ‘When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.’
So the Thought for Today is that Life is a journey — and the Christian life is the greatest journey of all.
It is not always easy or fun, but, as believers, we know that God will help us through those patches of rough roadway, no streetlights, and broken bridges.
If you are feeling weary in your journey, take courage, for you can trust the train driver, God, to be with you on your journey through life, knowing that our guide is Jesus and that for the Christian our final destination is Heaven!