The network of steel ribbons lays out before me with all of its switches and crossovers. Just beyond the tracks route 60 runs in parallel with it’s two simple lanes. The warm humid air after the storm carries the scent of creosote from crossties. And just beyond all of the intersections is the local foundry.
As I look out over the scene I’m struck by the thought of how both pathways lead to the same destination but only one allows for free will.
The railway with all its complex switches requires someone externally to help the trains switch tracks. ( perhaps more modern trains allow the engineer more control but in general the switches are external. ) In contrast, the highway traveler has more control over his/her route. Even though they have to follow certain rules and regulations about how the vehicle is operated they can change routes on a whim. The highway traveler can even perform a U turn and return home.
The concept of free will is an important part of human nature. Free will is often referred to as the first gift from God. No sooner did God breathe life into Adam that he was given a mind of his own complete with his own desires. Some people would say that it was free will that got Adam into trouble but it was free will that made him special in creation. Not even the angels were given the ability to choose.
There’s definitely a lot of choices to make on this earth. Even if a person takes the more controlled path like the train tracks it was still a choice that they made.
One last observation before I close. The area here in the feature image is a place where the trains are often parked for the night. This is the place where people can choose to leave the train tracks and get onto the highway. Or (if this were not a freight train) they can leave the highway and board the trains. Which makes me think that there’s always going to be an opportunity to change the pathway and change your life.
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