Get On This Train (Thoughts on Home and Missing Home)


churches and trains
they all look the same to me now

they shoot you some place

while we ache to come home somehow

(Amsterdam, Gregory Alan Isakov)

* * *

We spent the last 6 days going to, existing in, and returning from Ames, Iowa.  While we were there (in a desperate but well-played attempt to help the kids forget about 4 days strapped in car seats), we hopped a local train ride on a real steam train.  She only went 10 mph but what she lacked in velocity she made up for in duration.  Moses maintains that the 90 minutes asked of his life was about 30 too long, but still, a delightful time was mostly had by all.

I've been thinking about trains ever since. Well, I'll be honest, I'm often thinking about trains because I am the mother of two small boys.  So... I've been thinking about trains more than usual lately, and while we listened to The Weatherman album (cited above) driving through Oklahoma this afternoon, these lines jumped out at me.

And I feel it in my bones, this aching for a coming home.  I confess to have already fallen deeply in love with our new town.  I have let it woo me and romance me and whisper sweet nothings in my ear until I walk around in googly eyed denial of how wrong it's gonna treat me come April when I'm still(!) in my snow boots.  I'll be a fickle lover, I just know it.  But for now the stars, they're in my eyes and I'm a smitten schoolgirl primed and ready for a heartbreak.

But it's not my first.  I have hungrily clung to place before, hoping that it will be home, hoping that it will be forever.  So far nothing has been.  And maybe Ames will be and maybe it won't, but I have a nagging feeling that the "ache to come home somehow" is here to stay.  Because by now I know exactly what it is I'm aching for and I'm not going to find it until to dust I return.

That doesn't mean there isn't beauty in the aching.  And when churches or trains or new houses or new towns shoot me some place other, I stretch my lungs out wide and I breathe in deep and I can smell the fragrance of forever.  The fragrance of what is promised when all is made well.  So I'll ride this wave and I'll giggle like my children do, but I know that when disillusionment and grief hit (and they always, always do), it's the aching come knocking, and it's okay to answer that door too.

*if you read yesterday's post, I did indeed ruin my phone and lost everything on it. I salvaged this one from Instagram, but all the other beautiful train photos are RIP.  I may have cried.*

Someday, the light will shine like a sun through my skin & they will say, 'what have you done with your life?' & though there are many moments I think I'll remember, in the end, I will be proud to say, I was one of us.

(Brian Andreas, Storypeople)