the old roads

As most of you know I have a side job checking natural gas wells in our area and often I will come across interesting situations over the many miles I drive. On Friday as I was leaving a pad site I came upon a notoriously busy railroad crossing that has stolen a lot of my time in the past. This is one of those crossings where the trains are typically miles long and painfully slow.

And, of course the lights started flashing and the guards started dropping as I drove up. “Great!”, I thought as I prepared myself for an unscheduled thirty minute wait. But something was different this time. There were people getting out of their cars on both sides of the tracks with excitement. Many had cell phones and cameras at the ready. Something out of the norm was happening here.

A nice guy in a safety vest came over to tell me what was going on. Apparently there was a classic steam engine that was making a cross-country trip towards Wyoming where it will be put into a railroad museum.

You can read a little more about it here.

And, I was just lucky enough to see it.

At that point I hurriedly put my car in park and fumbled for my phone to get my own snapshots of the machine. Let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint. The ground shook and my eardrums bled from the noise put out by this tremendous piece of engineering. Really, it was overwhelming.

After the train came and went I turned onto the interstate parallel to the tracks to go to my next well. It turns out this train was a really big deal. Traffic on this major highway slowed to a snail’s pace as drivers threw caution to the wind to get a snapshot of this behemoth.

For a split, unexpected second we were all little kids again. Even for those of us who know nothing of locomotives, we were pulled back to a time where it was easy to catch our wonder. It was a thin moment where the heaviness of the life gave way to amazement and awe over something much bigger than ourselves.

And, we were also in that moment connected to something older and more meaningful. While new trains are more efficient and powerful, the classic steam locomotive had a distinctive look and appeal that define our conception of trains.

Because, we all need a way to connect to something older and deeper than our age. While we are more efficient at everything and find new and better ways to accomplish our tasks, we often lose the heart of what is important.

A few months ago I referenced Andrew Peterson’s song, You’ll find your way which is a song written to one of his sons about how to stay connected with God as he grows older. A line in the chorus says:

“Keep to the old roads, keep to the old roads….and you’ll find your way”.

For this reason many flock back to the ancient spiritual practices of the early church fathers. When we lose our way, we can find solace in what many years ago found comfort in as they endured persecution and strife for their faith.

Fasting.

Silence and solitude.

Prayer.

Worship.

Study and meditation.

I plan to write more about this on Thursday. For today, I want to ask you – how have you connected to the ancient foundations of faith? What practices keep you centered in the chaos of life? How do you bridge the gap from the words of the ancient scriptures to modern day life?

Share with us today and we will discuss further this idea of connecting to the ancient on Thursday.

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