I’m sitting in my truck, at a railroad crossing, waiting for a train to pass. It has been passing for a while, so I’ve been waiting for a while. I’m running late, so naturally the train is running slowly. “Running” may not even be the right word. I can’t recall if two Christmases have passed since I’ve been sitting here or if it has only been one, but hopefully I’ll be home before the next one.
I can remember a time in my life when I would have loved sitting here watching a train. That was before I had a driver’s license and before I was concerned about getting somewhere on time. I am not as enamored by trains as I was back then. I hate running late, and I’m not a great fan of waiting. I grew up in a town that did not have trains. The neighboring town had trains and I thought they were privileged because they did. I used to think we didn’t have trains because I grew up on a mountain. Later in life, when I realized that a town several miles south of us but also on the mountain had trains, I realized the fallacy of my logic. Since then, everywhere I have lived has had trains… slow trains.
I could have gone another way. I usually look to see if a train is passing before I turn down this street, but this morning I turned before I looked. I could have turned around and gone another way, but I figured the train would pass quickly. I figured incorrectly! Now I have vehicles behind me, as well as beside me, and a train in front of me. I feel like Moses and the Hebrews must have felt when they reached the Red Sea with Pharaoh and his armies coming up behind them. My problem is I’ve never read or heard anything about a train being parted so someone could pass through.
I’ve decided I might as well make the best of my situation. That means that I pulled out my cell phone. I checked my email, both accounts, and then looked at Facebook. I soon realized this was not a good idea. Several of my friends had posted pictures of what they had for breakfast. One had a beautiful picture of a slab of country ham, two over-easy fried eggs, grits, a cathead biscuit smothered with sawmill gravy that overflowed it sides, and a bowl of fried apples. My stomach reminded me that I had not eaten breakfast, so I decided to play Wordscapes rather than look at Facebook. In case you aren’t familiar, Wordscapes is a word game. It is a fill-in-the-blanks crossword puzzle. They don’t give you clues but give you six or seven random letters which you use to create words. I must confess that I am addicted. I love words and I love to play with words. As much as I love this game, I’m going to put it down and watch the train pass. I’m finding words like time, slow, patience, endurance, wait, and linger! At least they weren’t food words!
Someone told me that the Bible says, “Patience is a virtue.” That must be in the book of Somes…some things some people say the Bible says, but it doesn’t. Actually, a poet named William Langland was credited with this saying in a poem back in 1360 A.D. Patience is, however, taught in the Bible and listed as one of the fruits of the Spirit. The Bible also says much about the virtue of waiting. I’ve decided rather than fussing about this long, slow train, I’m just going to wait and be blessed! I can’t go anywhere anyway.
— Bill King is a native of Rainsville, where he and his wife graduated from Plainview High School. King is a director of missions in Opelika, a writer, musician and author. His column appears in the Times-Journal weekend edition. Visit brobillybob.com for more information.