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Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the
Hudson Valley

Train Tragedy

  • 02/05/2015 4:38 PM
    Message # 3218701

    Just two nights ago there was a train accident along the Metro North line. I feel certain you all have heard of it. It occurred in our county, along a line some of us may travel from time to time or even all the time. Among the dead are people I know some of my congregation knows. The loss of life feels so unnecessary; the accident in theory so avoidable. 

    I'm sure many of us have asked the same questions the news folks have asked-- among them, what happened to cause that driver to be in the tracks at the exact wrong moment? Was it human error or technology error? What could be done in the future to protect those inside the train from such an event? And so on. 

    But no matter what questions we ask, and what answers we are given, we are still faced with the awful and tragic truth of these people's deaths. And our first response must be, as it always must be in times of tragic loss, grief. Tears for those who suffered and for those who still suffer. Compassion for those who have lost fathers and mothers and lovers and children. Sorrow and sadness. We must always start there in the face of tragedy, with an open-hearted response of sorrow and sadness and a prayer for all of us that healing might one day come.

    And then we are still faced with a larger reality that looms great in moments like these: none of us know when an accident might strike. None of us know when life might go in the completely opposite direction from everything we are taught to anticipate and expect. None us has control over the things we wish we had control over. 

    We know this all too well in our own lives. Who among us hasn't been touched by an unexpected illness? By a loved one needing to move far away? By an inexplicable denial for a job or school or relationship? There are so many things in our lives we simply can't control. And yet, oh how we wish we could. Learning to live with that inability to control might be the central task of many of our lives. Learning to live well not only in spite of that truth, but learning to live well by truly embracing that truth. When we live in denial of that lack of control, we live with constant fear, paralyzing uncertainty; we fear sometimes even loving because of the loss we might incur. When we can embrace the fact that there will come things we can't control, we are freer to be ourselves, to make bold choices, to take chances and to pursue dreams that seem beyond possible; we are freer to love ourselves and others in this world. It's no easy feat, but working towards embracing uncertainty is part of the religious and spiritual journey that seeks to see the world as it is, to dream about what the world might be, and to live with faith and commitment to what is possible. 

    Take some time this evening to hug your loved ones extra hard. To tell them you love them. 

    May peace and healing come to all those affected by this tragedy, and may all us of continue to find ways to live these uncertain lives of ours with grace, with courage, and with open hearts. 

  • 02/05/2015 11:50 PM
    Reply # 3218946 on 3218701
    Jeanette Gould

    You are right to remind us in our busy lives to be aware that there are always unexpected and unexplained events which may affect any of us. Some of our members travel that train route every day.  One of our members could have been on that train.  One of our precious members could have been lost to us.  Reminders are the reason I come to this fellowship and stay in fellowship; reminders from the pulpit, reminders from the stories of friends, reminders from the events on my committees. I need reminders because my everyday life  and the to-do list seems to take over without them.  I thank what ever powers be in my universe for this fellowship and for the reminders and for the momentary safety and well-being of the people I love.

    Jeanette Gould     

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