Last week, there was a celebration in our town for the 150th anniversary of Union Pacific's route through the central United States. The old train depot in town has long since been turned into a musuem, but for this special day, Union Pacific brought in an antique train on a whistle stop tour. We were there! There were horns and clanging bells and the whole bit. Oh the thrill! All Aboard!!!
When I was a girl, living in Orange County, New York, I saw a great many trains. Close to home, there were freight trains that roared by, overwhelming the senses, and causing that wonderful terror that most of us have experienced. They were huge, powerful, and loud to me then; they certainly still are. We would watch them and see what the boxcars had written on them –were they from the south? Connecticut? New York? Ohio? What mysteries did they hold? What was it like to drive one, and to see so many places go by?
On their way to New York City and New Jersey, there were the commuter trains. Such freedom! To ride on into the city with its astonishing array of activities and excitement was a treasured event. No need for a car; the subway trains would cart you about when you arrived there, through that great, echoing, bustling Grand Central Station. How can something be so empty and so full?
But time went on, and my heart became jaded. I began to notice the annoyance of waiting for a train to cross at an intersection. The loud whistles that disturb your sleep. The danger should your child fail to respect the power of the train. The monotonous sounds as they go by and the schedules that don’t meet your own begin to irritate. The diesels sometimes don’t smell very nice, either. Being frustrated and annoyed about the inconviences they presented did nothing for my spirit.
I have been rescued from my rotten attitude concerning trains, and I am thankful for it. I have four charming sons who have all begun their own love affairs with trains. Steam, diesel, passenger, Santa Fe or Union Pacific, real, toy, wooden, electric; any train will do. When we happen across a blocked intersection in our car, we enjoy the pause it brings and admire the train. We roll down the windows for the full effect. It gives a person some time to think and enjoy the moment and reflect –and here are a few of those reflections!
Are the events in your life a joy, and an opportunity? Do you look forward in hope for the next challenge like my sons hope for trains? Do you plan to drive by the track in hopes of seeing a train go by, or do you avoid the train crossings? I fall into both categories concerning life and trains. I do not always enjoying waiting for the trains to pass (or God’s opportunities either). but I am learning from my kids to look forward to trains, and to the other delights that might come our way.
My kids' train merriment has sparked a hobby in the house! Ask any of the kids about trains – they are all interested and reasonably knowledgeable about it now. We have all waited with glee as packages of model cars are opened and examined. My husband has had a childhood interest revived to have a model train set up, and we are all reaping the benefits of the joyous passion of our fellow family members. Isn’t it like that with everything? When we are around people who know about and love something, how lovely it appears!
It begs the question: Am I influencing others to an excitement and joy in life, or am I dousing the flames of their enthusiasm with my dour outlook and self-centeredness? Ouch! I am determined to stop and enjoy the simple things like a freight train pulling into town. It is a choice and a blessing to gather childlike wonder purposefully. All Aboard!
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Circle of Moms.
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