Our lives run on private tracks. Unless we have already derailed, we must feel the tension of our wheels upon the steel of our rail tracks. Those tracks are our lives’ purpose, the silver thread that runs consistently throughout life, from the gloomiest tunnels through the most optimistic plazas, from tragedies through breakthroughs, through betrayals, through inscrutable mountains, unforgiving jungles and out into our veiled future.

That track gives us comfort in the dark hours; no matter how dark the tunnel, so long as the train can feel the steel of the rail running underneath, that darkness is only for a time. It will pass.

Sometimes, we find that while we can feel the steel under us, there’s no motion in any direction. We may have discovered the purpose of our lives, but we are currently marking time in a job that pays the bills… or we’ve stumbled across a racket that pays too much… Sometimes we are in a sort of switching yard, switching from temporary track to temporary track, spending a year on this dead-end project, another couple of years in another dead-end relationship… we may have identified the track of our life’s purpose, but we plan to join it sometime in the future.


Yet, we must beware the internal train that runs relentlessly, whose timetables and schedules we cannot control, whose terminal station will come up any day now. Whenever we pause by a mirror we are reminded that Time runs on its own persistent tracks, which do not require our acquiescence to speed us from childhood, through middle age into the decrepitude of old age – and when Time’s particular course is run, it won’t matter that we have finally determined to run the track of our life’s true purpose.
It would be too late.
This is why we must find the track of our life’s purpose immediately, and run it. We must stoke our engines with the fiery coals of Discipline. As Time’s train powers along, we must also feel the breeze of our Silver Express flying in our face, as we daily move closer to our lifetime goals than we were the day before. We must leave the switching yard full of boisterous friends shooting the breeze and going nowhere, into the lonely savannahs that separate us from lifetime goals. We must engage the very issues of our lives, confront the challenges of our families, streets, communities… On a daily basis, we must face up to responsibilities, change.
Discipline is the new brutality that we must introduce into our lives, a brutality that is person-facing, that person being the face in the mirror. We must set our faces like flint, not necessarily the faces we present to the world, but certainly the faces we present to ourselves.
Is something right to do? Then we must do it. Is something wrong? Then we must refrain.
True Discipline won’t do deals with the flesh. We are either on higher ground, our feet planted on certainty, or we are at some point on the slippery slope, sliding downwards. The tension between what we want to do and what we have to do produces the propellant that fires us forward. Discipline is the true fuel of the Silver Express, building the momentum that speeds us towards our destiny.

2 Replies to “The Silver Express”

  1. Stephanie says:

    Wow! What a great description of something I have been trying to describe. I am writing a novel, The Ideal Life: From Isis’ Lap and trying to describe such. You have done such a great job, that I must stop and re-read. Thanks.

  2. Chuma says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I am glad the essay struck a chord. I hope I’ll get to read *The Ideal Life* sometime!


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