When bellies are fed and chores are done, Saturdays are for walking.
Showers moved through early today, scrubbing everything down and sending the creek a ‘babbling.
We step out.
The sun comes over us like an ocean wave, washing us in her amber glow.
We head down toward the bridge, soaking in this feeling of leisure—pure joy in each step. I have never seen them more relaxed than at these times, my two growing boys. I feel it too—tension leaving my body, mind slowing to be right here, right now.
A flock of bird startles overhead and we all crane necks to watch them soar. I feel my heart lifted, carried on wings. Leaves sway in wind, droplets of rain sparkle in grass. A white cat stares at me through neighbor’s window.
I hear the train approaching in the distance…whistle announcing this rude disruption coming on. It draws near with loud rattle of cars and scream of rails. We, all three, turn and give attention.
My Little Man waves, reminding his mama of a small me, searching these passing boxes for the man in the caboose. But he’s not there, and we walk on as the noise of passing years recedes into the surrounding hills.
One would think my heart would forget by now, but I cannot hear the sound of rattling cars without thinking of him: old friend who lost his life on metal rails. The mystery of his death haunts me at times like these, but lately, the mournful sound of the train whistle brings something else also.
Strange, it seems, that the very thing that took him from us can bring him back to life so vividly.
A roaring, screaming, moving memorial to my friend.
We’ll never know what he was thinking the night he died, what drove him to such an act of hopelessness.
He was young.
If given the chance, would he do it again?
It reminds me of something John Ross said last night—about a Dobson family moment he heard on the radio.
“Parents are always asking kids, ‘What are you going to be when you grow up? Who are you going to be?’ But no one asks them, ‘Who are you right now?’”
If someone had asked, would it have mattered?
I have invited God into this sorrow but the peace that accompanies this healing does not keep me from missing my friend. Or from a longing to still that kind of silent pain that can take a life in such a way.
Can’t change the past.
But maybe…maybe we can learn from it.
I look at my boys.
They are throwing leaves over the bridge, watching for them to come out on the other side.
Who are you?
Who are you now?
I lean over the edge of the bridge, join in this simple game.
In these golden moments I feel that they will be with me forever.
Surly I cannot exist apart from them.
And in the distance, a train whistle blows.