i recently had the opportunity to take a train from philadelphia to atlanta. anyone who knows me knows i don't fly. the thought of it sends me into a panic. i've been there done that -- and although the scenery is nice -- the anxiety isn't.
my sister needed help packing for a move back home. my brother-in-law has left for germany, off to afghanistan soon. thier decision was for her and my nephew to come home while he is gone.
i knew i wouldn't be able to see to much - as most of the travel would take place at night (16 hours). i boarded the train in philadelpia's station. walking into the station a sense of anxiety flooded me for a second -- rows and rows of train "gates" - it was much bigger then i had imagined. that being said - the huge board in front of me told me the train was on-time, and soon told me what track.
i boarded the train and found my way to my sleeper car. hmmm. that was interesting. for one person, it was comfortable. standing in the middle of it - which was about all i could do - my arms buckled at the elbows when i tried to stretch them from side to side. there were 2 chairs facing each other - which later converted to a bed. the car also had a toilet, and a sink made it more "cozy".
i plopped down in my seat and was ready for the adventure to begin. we pulled out on time and rolled through the tracks of the city of brotherly love. my adventure started off with feelings of uneasiness. as we rolled through tunnels and through the back alleys of the city - poverty, homelessness, and hopelessness were everywhere. i'm not sure if i had some picturesque idea in my mind about the ride -- but i found that these pictures of people sleeping in boxes, graffiti with tags of R.I.P, and campsite waiting for thier souls to come back were more of a norm on my trip. i was almost glad most of the trip would be in the dark.
don't get me wrong -- there were some beautiful, picturesque parts too. we corssed a body of water - not sure where or what, but i felt like we were skimming across it. the bridge was low to the water, and not very wide. in the distance the sun was setting and sparkled on the water. this is what i had hoped for.
we rode trhough our nations capital just as the lights were begining to come on. the city was a glow and bustling. i have been to DC many times and had the opportunity to see the monuments up close. it was just as awe-inspiring to see them from the rails -- from my window i saw the the dome of the capital, the lights of the washington and jefferson monuments. and the majesty of the airfore monument. a beautiful site --
i made my way to the dining car and had dinner with two other ladies traveling alone. we chatted about our lives - who we were, where we were going, and exchanged many pleasant words over dinner.
the train rocked me to sleep -- and woke me when we stopped at a station. a peek out the window to check out the dark surroundings. we pulled into atlanta about 10 minutes ahead of schedule, where my sister had a car service waiting for me.
we rode trough city and towns -- big, little. the view from my window wasn't always beautiful, but life isn't all sunstes and lights. there are hardships. there are hard times. but the sun always shines -- God willing -- on a new day. it's our job to meet each new day with compassion for life, and compassion for our neighbors. i remember the face of a man sleeping along the tracks. i pray each day he gets the break he needs to be in a different place.