Some years ago I accompanied my Dad on a train trip. It wasn’t a hardship, especially as the trip in question was on the Glacier Express from St. Moritz to Lausanne. It was an amazing journey – crossing gorges on seemingly spindly bridges, going into a tunnel carved into the mountain and coming back out hundreds of feet higher to look down on where we had just been, and traversing snowy passes even in summer.
It’s billed as the slowest express train in the world, taking eight hours to cover three hundred kilometres – that’s about twenty five miles per hour! But just think how much we would have missed if we had been doing six times that speed on a ‘real’ express train.
Of course, our society values speed very highly. We have fast food – available drive-through so we don’t even have to get out of the car. We have microwave food at home, to save all that preparation time. We complain when a web page loads less than instantly, and the most commonly pressed button in a lift is “door close” because we can’t wait to get going. And I’m as bad as anyone!
A colleague challenged me recently to see that God may want us on the slow train of life, not the fast. That way we can enjoy the scenery as we go past. We can stop from time to time, and it means that people can get on and off, with new faces to inspire, challenge and encourage us.
Sometimes, yes, we need to get a move on; but more often we need to slow down and live life in the present moment, to look around and appreciate the place we’re in. If we are always in a rush to get somewhere else, we will never be truly present where we are now, and if we are always hurrying to reach tomorrow, we will miss today’s glimpses of eternity.
(Parishes’ magazine letter for November 2013)