View from the road 2

Every time I pass through Jackson, Tennessee, and over the years it’s happened several times, I don’t have the time to visit the Casey Jones Railroad Museum. This trip is no exception.

Jackson is the home of John Luther “Casey” Jones, a railroad engineer of the early 1900’s made famous by his daring-do, or wrecklessness, depending on whether you read more Disney or history. Casey Jones was immortalized in a ballad after a fatal train wreck in which he plowed his passenger train into the back end of a parked freight at 75 mph in the dark of night.

Casey was attempting to make up time that night. He was filling in for another engineer who had fallen ill, and had gotten off to a late start. He had just completed a run from the opposite direction. He was undoubtedly fatigued. He may have been attempting a speed record at a time when there were no radios and no computerized traffic controlling systems to control the rails.

The early years of railroading are filled with men like Casey Jones, men pushing a new technology hard and sometimes paying a big price when their bravado out-paced their good sense.

The railroad called the accident a case of human error, specifically a lack of sufficient caution on Jones’ part. At the speed he was traveling, he was unable to heed the warnings that had been put out to tell him of the danger that lay ahead.

Poor judgement. Ultimately, such mistakes come down to being human. Being less than perfect. Thinking we’re immortal when we are most definitely not.

“My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.” Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size–abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. —1 Corinthians 12:9,10, The Message

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