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  • Writer's pictureKathleen Knapp

Train Whistles

Updated: Jun 28, 2022

A train whistle blows in the night.

The sound reminds me of my childhood. The distant sound of a train whistle could be heard from the cottage window, in the twilight, when we were in our beds many years ago. Later the passenger train through that area was discontinued and the tracks were disassembled and pulled from the ground. The sound of the train whistle no longer haunts the night.

Instead, the old railway track is now a beautiful nature trail for walking, biking, running, in the summer; walking, skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. The trail weaves its way between meadows, swamps, and trees. The natural habitat houses birds and wildlife creatures. The path links two cities which used to be connected by rail but are now connected by nature. The changes reflect the passage of time and the changing needs of people. Something old can be made new. Purpose can change and still be useful.

This past year has been one of great change for us. We quit our jobs. We sold our home of 27 years. We moved almost 3,000 km to a new province and town. We left everything we knew, and everyone we knew, to begin a new adventure. Change can be frightening and uncertain.

But the sound of the train is now close again. Once again the train whistle haunts the night and sometimes even the day, because we now live in a small town full of trains. The whistles and sounds of clacking rail cars are heard every day and night.

Sometimes the sounds are loud, as the railway cars are moved, rearranged, filled and coupled together in the rail yards, preparing for the next day's journey.

Sometimes the sounds are more faint, as the trains move into the countryside carrying their cargo of wheat, grain, potash, or livestock.

Every day something is moving.

Every day the sounds of change can be heard.

Abraham of the bible knew what change was.God called Abraham out of the land of his fathers into a new land. He gave him a promise of something new. The promise of a blessing for generations to come. (Genesis 12:22) He was full of questions but with faith that God was at his side, Abraham followed God’s lead into an exciting journey. One where promises were fulfilled.

We also heard the call to move, leave the home where we raised our children and buried our son, to come to a new place with a new vision. We trust God to lead us and direct us. Jesus said “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11:9-10

I still have unanswered questions. What brought us here? What is my purpose? What has God called me to do? But God is faithful. He is at our side. We will trust Him.

Now, when I hear the train whistle I smile, knowing that life keeps moving, keeps changing, and that is okay. Change can be exciting, change can be good, and wherever we go, God is with us, and we too will see promises fulfilled.

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