Train Spotting | UMC YoungPeople
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December 2013

Train Spotting

By: Holli Long

When my husband and I were house hunting for our current home, we found and fell in love with a nice 3 bedroom with an open floor plan. I could picture my future children playing in the sunroom while I prepared lunch on the kitchen island. I envisioned family dinners in the dining room. And we were overjoyed at the thought of each having our own sink in the bathroom. We loved everything about this two-story house, except for one small detail - the train tracks.

While it is true that you will never find the perfect house that meets all your criteria, this one did except for the fact that the train tracks were perhaps just a little too close. How often would the train come by each day? Would it keep us up at night? What if we ever wanted to move? Would a future buyer be deterred the way we were? We did a little research and asked a few neighbors about the tracks, and they assured us it was no big deal and that we'd get used to it.

So, after much thought and careful consideration, we made an offer and it was accepted. And soon our dream house became our home.

But what our neighbors didn't tell us (because how could they have known) is that the train, and those tracks so close to our house, would actually be an asset. At least for us.

What they couldn't have known is that the not-too-far off rumble would bring back memories of visiting my grandparents before they moved away to Florida. That those vibrations would remind me of the times when my brother and I would sleep over and occasionally be awoken (maybe even at 3 AM) to the rumbling of the train and the light shining in the bedroom window of their home in the woods, also just a few hundred yards from the tracks.

And the train? The train doesn't bother us. Occasionally a visiting family member will notice it...and sometimes even at 3 AM, but we're used to it. Our neighbors were right. What they couldn't have known is that my children, who were not even born when we bought the house, would one day squeal with delight at the sound of the whistle as they choo-choo-ed their way to our sunroom window to catch a glimpse. (What kid wouldn't love that the Polar Express goes right by their window at Christmastime?)

Our neighbors were right that we wouldn't be bothered by the train. What they couldn't have known is that we'd come to love those train tracks. The very thing we worried the most about would be the very thing which brings us great blessings.

This story is not a lesson in reckless home-buying - a process which requires careful discernment. Instead, perhaps this reflection is an invitation to consider how things can be transformed. Worries to blessings. Nuisance to joy.

A simple manger in Bethlehem to a cherished symbol of humility and love.

Discussion questions: How have you experienced unexpected blessings in your life? What worries weigh on you today that might lead to future joy?

See more devotions from Holli and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.