Life is like a mountain railroad,
With an engineer that's brave;
We must make the run successful,
From the cradle to the grave;
These words begin an old gospel song called, "Life's Railway to Heaven." It's a favorite of mine that has sentimental value to me -- ever since my grandfather told me the following story before he died:
My grandfather said when I was two years old, I was standing in the middle of his living room floor and crying about something. He picked me up and held me close to his chest. Then he sat down in a rocking chair and, with one hand, guided my head to rest upon his shoulder. As we rocked, he slowly sang this song into my ear and gently patted my back. I eventually stopped crying while being comforted by the tone of grandpa's voice and the rhythmic motion of the chair. Grandpa's kind gesture assured me I had nothing to fear and that everything would be okay. Little did I know then how prophetic, yet encouraging, this simple song was as the words now ricochet in my mind:
Watch the curves, the hills, the tunnels;
Never falter, never fail;
Keep your hand upon the throttle,
And your eye upon the rail.
Life is like that, you know -- so many unforeseen twists and turns, dangerous hills and dark tunnels. I've faced a lot of these life challenges that I care not to relive. But, with each one, grandpa's singing echoed from afar:
Blessed Savior, Thou wilt guide us,
Til we reach that blissful shore;
Where the angels wait to join us
In thy praise for evermore.
I miss my grandpa, but I know I will see him again. I'm sure, at that moment, we'll embrace each other once more and, perhaps, sing together a different song -- one of praise and adoration to the Great Engineer who kept us both safe until we finally made it home.
("Life's Railway to Heaven," 1890, was a collaborative effort between composer Charlie D. Tillman and a minister named M. E. Abbey who supplied the lyrics.)