☕️ Trains and Squeaky Chairs

A Saturday Caesura

Last summer a train derailed somewhere near Winnipeg, Manitoba. On that train was an order of wood destined for a furniture manufacturing company. Because the train derailed and the wood was delayed, my Albertan students sat in flimsy, squeaky, folding chairs from the gym for the first two months of school.

The squeaky chairs were an annoying inconvenience in one of a myriad of cause-effect chains that crisscross our lives.

In fact, at any given moment we exist in the crossroads of cause and effect.

In one direction: past choices (our own and others’), societal values, political events, disasters, technologies — all lead to effects in our current life experiences. Sometimes we can trace the chain directly to an earlier cause, other times we live with our squeaky chairs, completely unaware of the train that derailed somewhere far away and long ago.

In the other direction: the consequences of choices we make now. Sometimes we are keenly aware of the potential results of these choices, but too often we act in the moment without doing the mental, prayerful work of imaging where the chain of effects might lead.

I know it is impossible to accurately predict outcomes, guarantee future results, or prevent every negative effect — life is simply not that simple. However, our world is tragically and violently waking up to the reality that a train derailed a long long time ago.

We are standing in the crossroad of causes and effects. Again. I pray that we have the wisdom to choose rightly and justly.

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