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Praising God on the Amtrak train

Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His Holiness. – Psalm 30:4

July 2021, I got on the Amtrak train in Philadelphia heading for South Hill. I was coming home to Victoria. When I got to my seat, before I could sit down, the woman across from me, who introduced herself as Carmen, started talking to me. I am also the type of person that loves talking to new people, so I was pleased.

Mary Simmons

After getting myself adjusted in my seat, we started a conversation that would last until I got off the train. Carmen said her entire body was swollen. You could see it in her feet, her hands and her face. Carmen is a diabetic, and she was stung by a bee or wasp (I forgot which one she said) a couple of days ago. Despite her obvious discomfort, she was not complaining. She was praising God for His goodness. I looked at her and didn’t see the swollen face. I saw a beautiful spirit that was absolutely intriguing.

Carmen was supposed to be traveling with her family, but there was a mix up with the tickets, so she and her 6-year-old granddaughter were traveling solo, and the rest of the family were going to meet them at the destination the next day. She was rushing to catch the train, so she didn’t have time to pack a lunch. My daughter always packs a big lunch for me when I’m traveling, so there was more than enough to share with Carmen and her granddaughter.

Carmen loved to talk and wanted to tell me just how good God has been to her. She told me about the time she had an operation. Although she was recovering nicely, she couldn’t walk well which was OK because she had her family there to take care of her. One day she really wanted to take a bath, but unfortunately the bath tub was upstairs. What was even worse was that no one was home but Carmen. She said she really wanted that bath, so she dragged herself to the stairs because her legs were too weak to walk. She sat at the bottom of the stairs for a long time wondering how she would get upstairs. Soon she began to talk to God. She told God, “You know I have to get up the stairs, and I don’t know what to do.”

After thinking for a while, Carmen backed up to the stairs, scooped to the first step and pushed herself up. Now she was sitting on the first step and started thanking God, and she repeated this process over and over until she reached the top. Now she looks down the stairs thanking God for helping her climb the stairs. Her reason for going up the stairs was to take a bath, so she made her bath water and got in the tub to bathe. She praised God for his grace and mercy for allowing her to do the seemly impossible.

After being on the train for a few hours, Carmen’s legs started hurting. I asked her to lay her luggage down and put her foot on it. We were in the handicap section, and there was no bar to rest her foot. Putting her feet on the suitcase relieved a little bit of the discomfort. And like always, she praised God.

As I got ready to get off the train, Carmen said she was blessed to have had me to talk to for the long ride. I told her she was my blessing because God put us together today. We wished each other God’s blessing and parted ways. It was one of the best train rides of my life.

Be blessed in Jesus’ name.

MARY SIMMONS can be reached at aboxoflove37@gmail.com.