Life is Like a Railroad Track

Life is Like a Railroad Track

Life is Like a…

“Life is like a box of chocolates…” – I know, I’ve seen the movie… (like 20 years ago). I can picture Forrest Gump sitting on the bench saying it, too – but I can’t exactly remember what he meant by that line. Something about – you never know what you’re going to get when you bite into one of the chocolates in the box. I don’t know what the problem is though – I think I would like just about any chocolate in the box.

So, maybe life is like a box of chocolates. Maybe life is like a vapor (James 4:14). Maybe it’s like a railroad track, too. Recently I was reading an article in Relevant Magazine where one of the co-editors / co-founders of the magazine said something intriguing about life that I hadn’t given too much thought to before. He was reflecting on the past year and how he had some great times and some pretty difficult times – at the same time. He basically said that good and bad times coexist at the same time throughout your life.

The quote said… “I used to think life was like a series of hills and valleys. I was either in a good time or a hard time. But that’s wrong. Life is actually more like a railroad track, where the good and bad coexist side-by-side all the time.” — Cameron Strang, Relevant Magazine Nov-Dec 2014

I’m a Christian – Life Will Always Be Good

We like to think that life will always be good – especially as a Christian. I think we get caught up believing that if we serve God and do His will that life will be 100% smooth for us – both rails on the track will be smooth, all the time.

Here’s the problem though… God doesn’t promise that our lives will be smooth if we follow Him. In fact I think He almost promises the opposite. If we are anything like Christ, then we should stand out enough that maybe the world will even hate us and make our lives even more difficult. Satan will definitely want one of the rails on our track to be rough as often as possible to offset the smooth side.

We are realistic, because life has taught us many lessons and helped us realize that there will be some bumps along the way no matter how well we live our lives. I do agree though that generally if we live a “Christian Life” we will at least avoid a lot of the heartaches that others living a more worldly life cause for themselves.

If we are truthful with ourselves and look back through most phases of our lives, we will see that good and bad times do coexist, pretty much all the time. No matter how bad things get there always seems to be something good on the other track – at the same time and vice versa.

Take the Good with the Bad

We should be able to look at our lives and see that when times were good (in our minds), times were probably also tough, or bad, or disappointing, too – in maybe another area of our life. For instance – I will go with the inverse – when my mom left my dad (my freshman year in college); that was sad, that was bad, that was disappointing… but, at the same time – I was dating my to-be wife – things were great! So depending on who asked me at the time – “How is life?” It could either be great or bad – at the same time.

Right now, my life is very good – things are humming along just fine on that single rail of the railroad track. My immediate family is great, my wife is wonderful, my children are healthy, I am gainfully employed, but there’s that other half of the track that is ever-present… There’s the rail running in parallel where things aren’t as good. I struggle a lot with dissatisfaction in many areas of my life; my job, my faith, some of the rest of my family, etc.

Balance in the Universe

So, what do we do with this? What do we do with knowing that there are two rails on this track of life? The good with the bad – at the same time. I think just acknowledging it is helpful. It helps me to understand that when the bad seems overwhelming – I can look to the other rail of the track and focus on what is so right with my life, too. Keeps my perspective in check to some degree.

Maybe that’s what we need though – maybe we need that balance. Maybe it’s not good for us to have two rails running in parallel that are both smooth, both perfect. If things were always good – we wouldn’t desire anything better – like Heaven. If things were always bad – we would be depressed. We might give up on life. Maybe the balance we need is having a railroad track where the good rail and the bad rail co-exist all of the time?