I close my eyes and I can remember vividly the list of things I saw every day. I remember the buildings and the signs they advertised. I see the train stops and signs showcasing our arrival to the next town. I remember the faces of the people I’d see everyday. They were the same people. Same train. Same time. Everyday.
All seats were unofficially assigned. I sat here next to the bike I’d strap everyday in its designated section. The business man, with perfect shoes and frozen hair, sat second row, to the left, aisle seat so he can easily run out when the soothing sound of the automated Metra man voice would announce “Jefferson Park.” Then there was my blind friend, who didn’t know we were friends. His name was Pat. He sat in the handicap section, and everyday when some wandering new visitor would hop on the train, I’d kindly remind them “this seat is reserved.” They didn’t know that I knew, upon arriving to “Desplains” Pat would would be joining us and that was his seat.
Then there was the nurse. She liked Pat too. She’d hold conversations with him from the middle of the cart where she sat all the way to the front of the cart where he sat.
She looked out for Pat more than I could ever. She’d yell out, “to the left,” or “right there to the right, Pat” when the train got busy and he could use a little help. I can’t remember her name, the nurse; but Pat appreciated her. They’d converse. Not that I was TRYING to pay attention, but I knew more about their lives from years of our train rides together then I could have ever known over several coffee dates together. I knew she worked two jobs to help her grown son and his physical disabilities.
Her heart was tender toward Pat. She, with her actions, exercised the power of “me too.”
I often remember my train rides.
Not just the sites and faces of hurried, happy and hurt people. I remember feeling my greatest moments of soul connection and I also remember the gapping hole of lostness when my soul felt empty.
I remember the bakery I’d pass and the small vintage spot where I was sure is where I oversaw my first wedding as a wedding planner and accidentally ran into a pole after the rehearsal dinner. That really happened. *blink, blink
I remember the BEAUTIFUL library, I vowed I’d go and visit! I remember the smell and comfort of the Starbucks Cafe when I arrived to the “Palatine Station.”
Yet with all that I remember, there’s a memory that takes precedence over all other memories.
It was the night God arrested my soul!
There had been an accident. Someone lost their life as result of a train. It halted all trains headed toward Down Town. I was in the very middle between work and home, geographically. They weren’t letting anyone off the train. I was stuck.
I always carried a book in my bag on the rare case the happenings of my surroundings didn’t capture me first. I was gifted a book that sat in my bag for SEVEN MONTHS before I even cracked it open. I was a bit fearful to start in the first place, if I’m honest.
“Spiritual Warefare for Women,” by Leighann McCoy. Tell me that title doesn’t scare the bejesus out of you!
It’s almost as though, God Himself sat next to me on the train that evening and read the entire book straight to my heart. It was THIS train ride I experienced the emotion of full blown grace and full blown redemption.
I am chosen. I am loved. Even more mind blowing then all of these, I FELT forgiveness pour down on me like like a total submersion of clear blue, warm ocean water.
Someone lost their life that day on that train ride. Because their life ended, mine began. The words rattle me, but I can’t get away from the truth.
I touched the hem of God’s garment that day, and I was healed.