November 22, 2011

Northbound

The trains are whistling through the trees. As winter draws closer and closer it gets easier to hear the sounds coming from the trains rushing by on the tracks two miles west of my house. Every year, as the trees drop their leaves and the air grows colder, we begin to listen for the trains. 
Northbound. Rushing ahead to some other city far away from here. Every year I listen to the trains and I wonder where they are going. I wonder where I am going. A year ago I was sitting in this same room, and I remember thinking to myself, "Where will I be one year from now? What will I have seen in the next year? Who will I be thankful for? Will I live a crazy life in the next year?" 
Sitting here, in this familiar chair, listening to the trains rushing into Kansas, I am looking back at the events of this past year. I saw a broken generation this past year. I saw strong hearts and brave friends. I saw a church rise up with passion for serving Jesus. I heard stories that tore me up inside. I heard the cries of lost friends who refused to be found. I heard encouragement from new friends that will never know how thankful I am to have met them. 
Thankful. 
That seems like an appropriate word considering that it is almost Thanksgiving. 
Thankful for adventures. 
Thankful for good friendships. 
Thankful for hard friendships. 
Thankful for an adventure of a lifetime. 
Thankful for the leadership in my life. 
Thankful. 
The train has moved on now. Further north, covering more distance than I will be traveling any time soon. Winter is coming to Oklahoma, fall is beginning to fade away, and summer already seems like a lifetime ago. And I am thankful for the seasons in my life this year. Thankful for the easy days, the hard days, the beautiful days, and the sad days. Thankful for the crazy life I've been able to live in the past 365 days. 
Next year, I wonder who I will be? I wonder what I will see in the next year? Who will I be thankful for? What crazy adventures will I live in the next year? 
I wonder...I wonder if in one year from today, I'll be listening to northbound trains and thinking about a year of things that I am thankful for..