Monday, June 9, 2008

The Metro Ride

I just got back from visiting my son in DC. While my wife and I were touring and Galen was at work, we decided to go back to our hotel in Northern Virginia for a couple of hours before meeting Galen for dinner, so with that, we hopped on the Metro. Little did we know that our ride was destined to be a short one. First, the train stopped at a station "somewhere" and we were told there would be a momentary delay. After five minutes, the driver came clean and announced that, at the next station there were live wires down on the track during the storm. After 5 more minutes, he opened the doors and said, "This train is out of service."

Irene and I got out of the train and stood beside it as everyone else (the train was very full) started walking here and there. After some minutes, a young woman approached us and asked, "Why are you standing here? Do you think the train is going to go again?" All that we could say was that we were standing there because we didn't know what to to do, because we were from Kentucky, where we don't have subways, and we didn't even know where we were. Finally, a sign beside the track displayed the message that a shuttle bus was coming, so we climbed the non-operational escalator.

When we got "up on top," we discovered that we were in a horrible storm. It appeared we were somewhere in Virginia. We waited for fifteen minutes and then pushed with the rest of the crowd to get on the bus. We hoped it was the right one. We really weren't sure.

The bus took us on a Metro station somewhere else in N. Virginia. The bus ride took about 45 minutes, if we had stayed on the Metro we would have been there in 7. I about died on the bus trip during rush hour. I had to stand all of the way. I have rheumatoid arthritis and have had both knees replaced (they still hurt like hell). Anyway, at the station, the Metro was going in one direction, fortunately ours. We got to our hotel. But the storm had played real havoc in the DC suburbs and we had to leave the next morning to return home. We never got that dinner with Galen.

Isn't that a whole lot like leaving fundamentalism? You know something is wrong on the tracks. You're stuck. You're confused. You know you want out. But to get free from the world of fundamentalism, you must battle the crowds, take risks, hurt like hell, and pray you'll find the right train in the end. There are no guarantees. You just know that the way you are going isn't working anymore, even though you are doing just what you were told to do. Also, to be true to yourself, you must often leave those you love behind

I guess the bottom line is this: When the train stops working, you can stand there forever hoping it might run again. Or you can take your chance up on the street and pray like hell that you find your way before the storms of fear and uncertainty paralyze you. That seems to me to be the only choice. No one ever said life was easy!

James Alexander
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