three trains (soLs)

So far today I’ve been stopped by three trains. The first was on my way to work. I could have went around, under the viaduct, but I chose to wait. I stopped for the second train when the lights began flashing, well before the arms dropped. I could have rushed and crossed, but I chose to wait. I came upon the third train as it was in the middle of its passing. I didn’t choose to wait; I was forced.

When Sam was two, he used to hope for trains on our way to my mom’s every morning. I found myself hoping against him, not wanting to be stopped by a train that usually comes to a complete halt and then blocks the road for 30 + minutes. The way around is long — over three miles out and three miles back.

One day we came upon the tracks and they were blocked. I groaned. Sam pumped his fist and said, “Yes! It’s our lucky day!” I put the car in reverse, planning to turn around when he protested. “No Mom! You can’t do it! It’s our lucky day. The train is here. Please just wait.” I stopped turning around. And then from the back seat, a softer, “Please, it’ll be good.” We waited for the train that day. His happiness was contagious.

Today I thought of Sam while I waited for trains. He doesn’t consider it an inconvenience to be forced to wait, instead it is a sign of a very good day.

When I chose to wait on the first two trains, it was easy to be content. I took a few deep breaths. I relaxed. I let my mind wonder.I appreciated the pause. But the third train, when it forced me to stop, I gritted my teeth a little, groaned, and squeezed the steering wheel. I didn’t have time to stop. I didn’t choose to stop.

 A a soft voice rung in my ears. It was much too young to be filled with so much wisdom, Please just wait, it’ll be good. Isn’t this often the truth. When we just wait, it ends up being pretty good.

You know, I think I kinda like being stopped unexpectedly in the midst of the crazy-busy life.

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14 Comments »

  1. It is all a matter of perspective, isn't it. Perspective and mind set. We make the choice. I can just imagine the glee on his face as he said, “Yes! It's our lucky day!”

  2. “Please, it'll be good” ~ reading this brought a smile to my face. We have trains that go straight through our town. My husband finds them an inconvenience. For me, they bring back childhood memories of anticipating the end of the train when I would wave frantically at the person in the caboose & wait eagerly for for them to return the wave. Oh, it was definitely good!

    First Grade Delight
    imgoingfirst@gmail.com

  3. Really liked this line, “Please just wait, it'll be good.” Reminded me of my dad. Anything I have a problem or a change in life or a decision to make, he tells me he loves me, I'm smart, I'll make the right decision, and that time tells all. Waiting can be hard but it often does all get sorted out in the end. Thank you for making me think of my dad and reminding me of the positives of waiting.

  4. I'm glad you found the good in waiting. I've taken to sneaking outside for a few minutes each afternoon–either walking the playground if kids are out, or just sitting at the edge of the sidewalk and relaxing for a couple minutes if they are not.
    Somehow sitting and just waiting seems to make the good come out in a day. Sam's a very smart boy!

  5. My boys also liked when we were stopped by trains. They liked to see how many engines the train had, how many cars it was pulling, how many were flat and how many were boxcars. It became a game. I don't like sitting at train tracks, but the next time I have to, maybe Sam's voice will come to me too. 🙂

  6. The forced quiet, waiting parts of my day were definitely moments for which to be grateful. Your trains story is a great reminder of that. I think this might be a tale of more than 3 trains, however (Sam's Lucky Day Train deserves to be included, don't you think?)

  7. I'm glad you thought of what Sam would say. He would have been counting all the cars as you waited to see which one was the longest. I forgot to tell you-train rides July 7th. this year 1911 steam locomotive pulling the cars.

  8. “Out of the mouths of babes” they say. Sometimes what 'they say' is quite wise. I love that you remembered what Sam had said in this, & followed his advice. You must have grown a little that last train.

  9. I was just scrolling down through your posts looking for the set of posts that you did with your writing group. When I first saw your post that said, “Stop…” I loved the idea of seeing the trail of posts, but it was much too late and needed to get to sleep. Then I forgot until now. I had not even realized that I missed a day of your posts beside that. I am so glad that scrolling back to find your writing group post helped me stumble upon this one. It speaks to me!