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After the Train Wreck

Thoughts from the Road Less Traveled
Thoughts from the Road Less Traveled

After the Train Wreck

 

“Every man—sooner or later—has a train wreck.”  TWEET THIS

 

Often times it’s in their thirties or forties.  Sometimes earlier, sometimes later.

 

Train wrecks come in all varieties and sizes but the result is the same.

 

A man finds himself broken.

Dreams shattered.

What he views as reality is distorted.

The true reality looks bleak.

 

Sometimes our train wrecks are self-created.

Think King David.

Seafaring Jonah.

Pre-Damascus road-Saul.

Let’s honestly call it sin.

 

Other times our train wreck is the result of the poor decisions and sin of others.

We have no control of the results.

Our train wreck is caused by the carelessness of others.

 

Think Joseph of Egypt.

 

Other times we can find no reason or source for our train wreck.

It may be called cancer.

M.D. Anderson beckons.

 

A lost job.  What do I do next?

A missed opportunity.   Why, God, why?

A fractured marriage.   How did I get here?

A wayward child.  Lord, I don’t understand.

A sudden death of a loved one.

Once again, “Why, God, why?”

 

Those train wrecks call for a deepening trust in God.

Wise Job,  “The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh, blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Wiser Job.   “Though he slay me, yet I will trust Him.”

To follow Jesus means to follow Him as Master:  King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It's a big decision.
Where to go after your train wreck.

 

 

Jailbird Paul,  “I have learned in whatever state I’m in, to be content.”

 

The key to a personal train wreck is what you do after it.  Tweet this

 

Do you lay and wallow in it?

Or get up, dust off, and begin again?

 

Wise Solomon said,  “Fall seven times; get up eight.”

 

I’m always keen to watch the aftermath of a man’s train wreck.  What he does (or doesn’t do) next is the key.

 

My biggest train wreck was in 2000. 

I had a meltdown.

You could call it a breakdown.

Depressive episode.

 

 

I choose to call it my train wreck.  (I’ve had several train wrecks.  This one’s just the biggest and most memorable.) 

 

It was very public.

I humbled me like nothing else.

 

It was the worst time of my life.

But looking back, everything from my train wreck was good.

I came out of it a better man.

With better priorities.

More in love with my wife and family.

More confident in the presence of God even in the valley of the shadow.

 I even wrote a book about this time,  The Mockingbird’s Song.

 

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 9.50.41 AM

One of my favorite movies is “The Fugitive” with Harrison Ford.

 

Ford plays Dr. Richard Kimball, a Chicago doctor framed for the murder of his wife.

 

It features the “mother of all train wrecks.”

Dr. Kimball, headed to prison on the train, escapes from the carnage and spends the rest of the movie seeking out the real killer.

 

It’s a great movie.

 

Because I’m also a train wreck survivor, I take a spiritual lesson from the story:

 

It took a terrible train wreck to free Dr. Kimball.

He crawls out of the twisted metal on a mission from God.

 

(I’m getting my Chicago movie metaphors jumbled.  That’s from “The Blues Brothers.”)

 

The doctor’s mission is finding the person(s) behind his wife’s death.

 

I close with this:

You’re in one of three places in your life:

Coming from a train wreck.

Headed to a train wreck.

In the midst of a train wreck.  Tweet this.

 

I wonder if you can be in all three at one time.

I believe so.

Been there. Done that.

 

In spite of the teaching and preaching of some,  trials and tribulations come to all of us.

 

Train wrecks are the toll for riding on this engine called life.

No one is exempt.

Especially followers of Jesus.

 

Our leader said it Himself,

“In this world, you will have tribulation . . .  but rejoice, I have overcome the world.”

 

We’re in this world, but not of it.

 

You’ve just had a wreck?

 

If needed, sit in the train car and catch your breath.

Brush off.

Climb out.

Stand up.

Move away.

Look forward.

Look Up.    Tweet this.

 

Your train wreck is not the end.

It can be the new beginning you’ve been looking for.

About Curt Iles

I write to have influence and impact through well-told stories of my Louisiana and African sojourn.

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2 comments

  1. Thank you Curt for writing this. It made me look back at my personal train wreck and see how far God has carried me.

    • Thank you Shane. More important than the wreck is what comes after it. I believe you are, like me, a better man. I was thinking of you last week and reflecting on how much I enjoyed coaching you in baseball. I hope you can come see us in 2015.

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