On Track. Toot-toot!


Email Devotion, Pentecost 4


As a little girl, I remember I hated to get my hands dirty. I loved dolls, Barbies, dress-up and make-up. I have two sisters and no brothers. While my sisters and I played a variety of sports, I wouldn’t consider us highly competitive. I was a bit of a girly-girl, calm and reserved. (My dad always said he’s blessed beyond measure to be surrounded by four women. He also has three sisters and no brothers, by the way.)

I never thought I’d enjoy playing in the dirt, bumping trucks together, racing cars down the driveway, playing endless games of soccer and running around the house yelling, “toot-toot!” It’s a new world for me, and I love it!

Let me introduce you to my three-year-old son, Charlie, the love of our lives. I’ve come to learn by observing him closely that he’s inquisitive, competitive, creative and intense. When he sets his mind on something, he goes for it. He’s all in. That’s Charlie, a delightful combination of my husband (competitive and intense) and me (inquisitive and creative). His “Pop-pop” (my dad) has introduced Charlie to a fascinating subject through their love of books…such tender grandfather, grandson moments. Finally, a boy bond! Now, Charlie eats, sleeps and breathes trains. And I’m not just referring to the average three-year-old’s love of locomotives…

“Charlie the Express Train” wakes up in the morning and says “toot toot!” He pretends to eat coal and water. His hands are his headlights and his feet his train wheels. I’m a freight train and “Daddy” is a steam train. Charlie knows the difference between a 2-4-2 and a 4-6-0 train wheel alignment. He can tell you that a fat smoke stack burns wood and a skinny smoke stack burns coal. He will say he dreams about trains, “and a train without a caboose is just not a train!” Between his “MeMe and Pop-pop’s” house and ours, we have books and books of trains that we read daily and fall asleep to. One of his favorite places is the Train Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg. When we walk outside together, Charlie’s on one track, and I’m on a parallel track. “I won!” yells Charlie, “Toot-toot!” Charlie is all about trains. I don’t know when this season will end, but it’s picking up pace and has been going strong for several months now. The amazing part about it is that I’ve come to love trains just by being around a train-lover. Just the other night, I found myself reading one of my dad’s books on the history of trains long after Charlie was asleep.

Isn’t this how our faith journey should operate? From a three-year-old’s perspective, it’s pretty obvious. Can you hear the breaks squeaking and the steam hissing? Smell the coal burning in the smokestack and see the headlight shining in the distance? Feel the magnitude of a powerful steam engine chugging down the track closer and closer? You hang around someone who loves trains long enough, spend time with that person, breathe, taste, smell the aroma of what that person loves, and I guarantee, you’ll come to love them too!

Hosea 6:3 says, “Let us know. Let us press on to know the Lord.” That’s what I want to be true of my life with Jesus. I want to know him like Charlie knows trains. I want to be on a parallel track with Jesus, or better yet, on His track! I want to taste and see that the Lord is good, powerful, big, interesting and fun! I crave an intensity and a longing to love Him more with increasing measure. Ah, to be all in for Jesus. It’s a moment-by-moment decision, and it requires your hands to get a little dirty too. But it’s worth an eternity.

Avatar photo

Rev. Craig Ross

Senior Pastor

The vibrancy of life here at St. Peter’s makes my service on our staff a joy and privilege. Visitation, teaching and preaching are the ministries that feed my pastoral identity, as together our staff and lay members share in our missional calling … Building a community of faith by God’s grace.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.