Long Black Train

courtesy_alaska_railroad_exteriorWhen we catch our first sight of it, nothing could be more appealing. It doesn’t look black at all. It is bright, sleek and beckons with sophistication. Through its spotless windows you can see handsome, fresh-faced people on board, full of pluck and charm, having the time of their lives. The conductor announces the destination: ease, prosperity and abundant pleasures. You can bring most everything you have with you if you choose to board, but you may have to leave your mother crying at the station.

Once on board, you find plush, comfortable seats. The passengers and crew are wild and fine. Everyone is pleasant and helpful. Delicious meals are served regularly. There is entertainment to spare.

Homeless-People-in-1872Then the interior of the train begins to grow drab and desolate, as though someone underneath has pulled out a stopper and the light is leaking out. Meal service has become sporadic, and the once-delightful fellow passengers begin to grow ugly and uncivil. Still, you’ve committed yourself, and as unpleasant as the ride is becoming, there is still the far country you’ve resolved to see. Surely the bounty there will make up for everything.

But the ride goes on interminably. The passing country is gray and inhospitable. There are fields strewn with charred vehicles, and you can spot smoking divots in the earth. A war is taking place here. More violence is going on than you could have imagined. 300px-monte_cassinoNothing, however, can match the demoralization going on inside the train, where the passengers are biting and devouring each other for quiet seats and diminishing bits of food. Ironically, getting off the train will be harder now than when you first boarded. Your luggage has been rifled through and lost to marauders. Still, the ugliness outside of the train seems that much worse.

If you should see a peaceful stranger beckoning from the fields, don’t let him get away. Go to Him. Throw yourself from the speeding train, though you leave your bags and break bones hitting the ground. The Savior is waiting.

There’s a long black train
Coming down the line
Feeding off the souls that are lost and crying
Tails of sin only evil remains
Watch out brother for that Long Black Train

Look to the heavens
You can look to the skies
You can find redemption
Staring back into your eyes
There is protection and there is
Peace the same burn in your ticket for that
Long Black Train

Cause there’s victory in the Lord I say
Victory in the Lord
Cling to the Father and his holy name
And don’t go riding on that Long Black Train

There’s a engine there on that Long Black Train
Making you wonder if your ride is worth the pain
He’s just a waitin’ on your heart to say
Let me ride on that Long Black Train

But you know there’s victory in the Lord I say
Victory in the Lord
Cling to the Father and his holy name
And don’t go riding on that Long Black Train

Well I can hear the whistle from a mile away
It sounds so good
But I must stay away
That train is a beauty making everybody stare
But its only destination is the middle of nowhere

But you know there’s victory in the Lord I say
Victory in the Lord
Cling to the Father and his holy name
And don’t go riding on that Long Black Train

I said cling to the Father and his holy name and don’t go ridin’ on that black train
Yes watch out brother for that Long Black Train
The devils a ridin’ that long black train.

Songwriter(s): Josh Turner
Copyright: Sony/Atv Cross Keys Publishing

About Douglas Abbott

I am a freelance writer by trade, philosopher and comedian by accident of birth. I am an assiduous observer of humanity and endlessly fascinated with people, the common elements that make us human, what motivates people and the fingerprint of God in all of us. I enjoy exploring the universe in my search for meaning, beauty and friendship. My writing is an extension of all these things and something I did for fun long before I ever got paid. My hope is that the reader will find in this portfolio a pleasing and inspiring literary hodgepodge. Good reading!
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6 Responses to Long Black Train

  1. fcb3 says:

    Hi Doug,
    I like this kind of music, not unlike the negro spirituals from the past, which I have a small collection of. Good stuff!

    • Douglas Abbott says:

      Yes, I love negro spirituals. Such passionate trust and praise! This song really got me going, and you’re right, it has that kind of feel to it. It’s great to see God getting good press in mainstream media.

  2. Auntie Sarah says:

    Okay, it looks like the format has changed some & that’s ok. Just want to say, Doug, that I’ve been reading right along but not responding much. I love the above article & I sense a new/different writing style showing up here. Maybe a refreshing change. A great punch line at the end followed by song lyrics! Nice!

  3. Douglas Abbott says:

    Thanks, Auntie Sarah. Nice to hear from you as always. I’m glad you liked this. All this came to me in a flash the other day when one of my roommates was playing this song. I loved the song, and it was a perfect short piece for me to be able to write during a time when I had other writing projects going. Blessings!

  4. Scott says:

    Awesome description of part of our life journey

  5. Douglas Abbott says:

    Thanks, Scott! I hope you’re doing well. I always have fond memories of our time in Portland together. Bless you, brother.

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