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Friday, June 6, 2008

Do Not Stop On Tracks

Do Not Stop On Tracks

I pass this sign on a daily basis. The tracks run between a tiny section of Linden Street between a set of stop lights a block or two apart. Much to my chagrin, trains often use this track when I am in a hurry to get somewhere.

But please, who would be silly enough to stop on these tracks? Still, it seems to be human nature to ignore these kinds of signs. And children who live near train tracks have to be told over and over not to play on the tracks. Sometimes, it seems, that we flirt with danger.

I'm law abiding (I've never gotten a speeding ticket!). So, stopping on these tracks isn't really an issue. But, I found God asking me, "So, what tracks do you stop on?" Me? Law abiding, Amy?

I have recently become acquainted with a woman who is new to my church. A friend told me I had to meet her because we process the entire issue of singleness in the same way. My interest peaked. However, we barely got introduced when she needed surgery. My friend was trying to find meals for her and I volunteered to make something and took it on Sunday.

Monday night I made my famous chocolate chip cookies. I always make plenty to share, so I decided to drop some cookies off to her as the medicinal impact of cookies is well known.

When I stopped in, her nieces were there to watch a movie with her. The cookies couldn't have had better timing. I was there for minutes, but I felt my heart sink as I left. I stopped on the tracks.

I have always wanted children. Barring that for the moment, I have always had this fantasy of "aunt-dom." In "aunt-dom" I imagined being the perfect aunt. I would go to soccer games and basketball games, plays and parties, take my nieces and nephews to McDonalds, let them stay up late, raptly listen to their stories, and be an all-around-cool kind of aunt. It hasn't worked out that way. We live too far apart and there are certain family dynamics that have made it an impossible dream.

But still, I dream of it. Walking in on them was like walking in on part of that dream. There was an easiness about it. One niece was helping with something. The woman from church teased the younger of the two about what her present for her upcoming birthday might be. My heart lept-- I want a day like this with my nieces and nephews! But, my heart also fell because I was instantly seized with jealousy. And then, I dawdled along those tracks for the rest of the day and evening.

As I prayed about it, God brought to mind this sign. He also brought to mind a friend's comment the other day. My friend Jill was with me when I dropped off my meal. We talked briefly and somehow it came up that I often spend time with Jill's children. Jill said something to the effect of not having family in town and me being an "adopted aunt" to them. God reminded me of the tough spring I had. When I was feeling a bit better, I had them over. One of them said, "It's been 2 months since we spent the night!" I was astonished they had been keeping track. There couldn't have been a sweeter compliment.

How do we get off those tracks when the bars have come down and the lights are flashing? Philippians 4:8 has some good advice.

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (NIV)

So I'm counting my blessings. My nieces and nephews might be far away, but God has granted me several other kids to invest in -- to go to track meets, play games, indulge in little ways, cheer on during basketball, and hopefully help mold in positive ways.

Questions for reflection:

In what ways do you stop on the tracks?

How can you follow Paul’s advice to the Philippians?

God's Work In Progress,

This year I'm focusing on hope. I'd love for you to visit my personal blog:

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Blogger Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

This is awesome Amy. I love how God sends us little love notes like this to remind us Who is in control.

June 6, 2008 at 11:28 AM  
Blogger Kristen Schiffman said...

What a great reminder for me today. Thank you.

June 6, 2008 at 12:19 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Such a great devotion, thank you.

June 6, 2008 at 1:39 PM  
Blogger windycindy said...

What a wonderful way to end my week! Thanks a bunch.....Cindi

June 6, 2008 at 4:58 PM  
Blogger elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I stopped on those tracks today. Often my mind wanders with music. A few years ago, God challenged me to let go of some of my music. Not because it was bad, per se, but because it caused my mind to travel to places I'd rather not visit. Past things. Past people. Past habits. Thus, as I was listening to music via the radio today, I found myself in quick transport to another place. I immediately shut off the music and confessed my angst to my husband.

I've found confession to be very good for the soul. It diffuses the schemes of the enemy. Anyway, that's my train-track, train-wrecking stop for the day. And since you asked, I thought I would share.

Be blessed!


June 6, 2008 at 7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember doing that... we had infertility for many years and I was desperate for a child.. that wanting to be "super aunty" was a big thing to me and I never knew that anyone noticed it until my nephew said, I know aunty amy loves me, she always remembers my birthday(he was 16 at the time).

I'm actually choked up.

June 7, 2008 at 1:14 PM  
Blogger Norma said...

It could have been me writing this. I am single, I love children and would very much like to be a mommy. In fact I was working on adopting internationally but had to give it up at the last minute - yes, I stopped on the tracks. I need to learn to be a good auntie to my biological nieces and nephews - esp. the adult ones - and to other children around me.

June 7, 2008 at 10:25 PM  

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