Saturday, August 28, 2010

Choo Choo

One thing that is spectacular about this experience is the immediate sense of community it creates. Since arriving at Stony Point, I've felt comfortable, cared for, and at peace. I think of thin places- places where God's presence seems so near and touchable. Stony Point, like Montreat, Mo Ranch, and Lake Titicaca, is now a thin place for me. I really felt God touching me personally last night, sitting in my room with house mate and friend Jacob, and friend Laura. Yesterday, my Great Aunt passed away from a battle with pneumonia. She was 84 years old and died in peace. My cousin had let me know, and just after I found out I started telling stories about how my Great Aunt, about how at times she served like the perfect spice that made the family soup go from mild to delicious. About how she was a very strong and charismatic woman. I told stories like: when my cousins and I were little, we remembered our parents telling us about how she had been hit by a train. Well, when I was 4 years old hearing this, I didn't understand how she could survive an encounter like that with a train. But, she did.
Now, in the 20 years I'd known about my Great Aunt's accident, I'd never known if it was true, or what really happened. It had become a family Tall Tale.
Fast forward 20 years from the 4 year old me listening to the tall tale. I'm talking to my cousin Cindy about her mom, and that story comes up. I'm sure I'm missing some details here, but what I remember is that Aunt Betty was driving along in her 1969 car. This car had been her dream car, and sometime in the 70s or 80s she'd finally bought it. There was no stop light, no stop sign, no signal of an oncoming train. They collided on the tracks. She was saved by the sturdy, 1969 frame of her car. Instead of her car crushing around the train, like most of the modern cars at that time would have, it hit just in the right spot of the sturdy car, and the car spun off of the tracks, saving her life.

Just as I finished telling this story to Laura and Jacob, a train passed nearby and whistled.

Now everytime I hear a choo choo, I'll think of my Great Aunt Betty, and all the character that she brought to our family.

Thanks, God, for the thin places and choo choo trains.

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