Posted in joy

Riding the joy train

blogDSCN8437I think I’ve been like the little engine who could.

Like him, I’ve been chugging my way along focusing on what I need to do using “I think I can, I think I can” as my motto.  But perhaps I’ve chosen the wrong track – the selfish one.

I’ve realized recently that I write often about my own experiences or daily occurrences in my book called Opportunity that inspire me or give me cause to pause in wonder.  And this year, I vowed to concentrate on detailing those experiences that grant me joy.

As I’ve contemplated what gives a person joy, I’ve discovered something I hadn’t considered before.   I believe joy is like love, it’s meant to be shared.  But you can’t share if you’re being selfish.

What supplies joy for another human being?  For my grown up children, I’m certain they find joy in their relationships with their beloveds in their newly engaged statuses.    For some people, serving others provides joy.  Some think they find joy in owning material goods.  For those of us who are believers in Christ, new life in Him sustains us and imparts joy like no other.

Just lately, I’ve realized even the simplest act or encounter can send our hearts leaping into merriment – that happy, happy, joy, joy state of mind.  A few weeks ago, I watched my husband of 34 years get as excited about something as a little child does in a candy store.

blogDSCN8442My husband’s father worked his adult life on a railroad, so my spouse grew up listening to much talk about trains and he knows a lot about them.  As a child, he rode the train on a free pass with his parents from time to time.   The sound of a train whistle and the cavalcade of passing cars on the railroad tracks have always held my hubby captive.

For much of our married life, this man also has been enthralled with model trains. His dearest wish would be to build a model railroad someday, and he already owns an HO train engine just waiting to link up with more railroad cars and chug along a track.

When we were young marrieds, we enjoyed a few short excursions via steam engine trains during vacations.   These trips excited my husband while I just thought they were something different to experience.

blogDSCN8452With our children, we’ve also ridden trains as well as visited numerous train-related sites including a railroad museum or two.   Although they were interesting, they just didn’t hold the allure for me like they did for my beloved.

I like museums, but I tend to move along at a faster pace, only stopping to read about items that pique my curiosity.   But my history loving husband lingers at each exhibit case, reading every card of information, sauntering and generally taking his good old time.   I’m usually a room or two ahead of him when we visit such establishments and become a little agitated when he’s lollygagging behind.

So with all of that in mind, I confess I groaned inwardly when my husband informed me that he would like to attend a model railroad display not far from our home.   He’s mentioned this before, but somehow we just never got around to going.   So one weekend, he remarked again that he wanted to view this particular display at a model railroad museum and he wanted to go that day.  Would I go along?

Part of me wanted to say no, you go right ahead.  I’ll stay home and….blog or work on our daughters’ wedding plans.  But in my spirit, I felt God was challenging me in my newly announced quest for joy.  Did searching for joy only involve me and my feelings?  Absolutely not!  Why wouldn’t I be willing to participate in something that might grant a little joy for my spouse?

So I said yes, let’s go!  We spent the better part of a Saturday afternoon examining and exclaiming over a rather large model railroad display that continued through several rooms of the museum.  My hubby was over-joyed.  He grinned from ear to ear.  He chatted with an older gentleman, who happened to be one of the model railroad club members, and listened carefully as the enthusiast explained aspects of the elaborate set-up.

I marveled that we stayed together, side by side, viewing the display.  I didn’t forge my way ahead of him and wait for him to catch up; I remained at his side spotting and inspecting all of the tiny details the creators had painstakingly taken to make the display realistic.

blogDSCN8433The display was amazing, but something else became amazingly apparent as well to me.  As we left the museum later that afternoon, my husband declared happily, “That was really fun!”  And you know what?  It was.

Watching my husband – this man who has put up with me all of these years in good times and not so good; this man who agreed to change his career track and move back to my hometown not his; this man who has worked hard to always provide for me and our children – watching this man, my beloved, derive a bit of joy himself from the simplest outing gave me joy.  Happy, happy, joy, joy.  Just as it should.

“A joy shared is a joy doubled.” ~ Anonymous

Copyright ©2012


Mama of this empty nest, I’m content to live a quiet, country life with my husband of 40+ years and to view the gorgeous sunsets off my own back yard deck. Mama to three adults and Nana to adorable grandchildren, my empty nest fills up again with noise and laughter when they all return 'home'. A former English teacher, reporter/editor, education director for a non-profit organization, and stay at home mom, I retired after a season of substitute teaching at a private academy. Now I enjoy time spent with my grandchildren and family and writing words that seem to pour out of my soul or wandering around the countryside with my camera. Foremost, my faith sustains me as I meander through the empty nest stage of life. My favorite scripture is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

12 thoughts on “Riding the joy train

  1. You are right, there is so much joy in seeing my husband happy. My husband is such a nerd, he LOVES anything Batman to such a degree that our daughter THINKS he’s Batman! I like the Dark Knight movies but everything else is all him so when I get him a comic or figure for something special he just flips and though I could care less about it, I just love seeing him so happy. And you are right, we can only find our ultimate joy in Jesus Christ and He’s the only reason we know true happiness in the first place!


    1. Ha-ha, I laughed at your little one thinking her Dad is Batman! So cute. You’re an understanding wife, Sharon, acknowledging that Batman paraphernalia gives your hubby a little joy. Mine has always been a Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and James Bond movie fan. They don’t float my boat, but they sure do his! 🙂


  2. What a memorable afternoon you spent together. My husband’s grandfather worked for the railroad in Arkansas. At Christmas we have two sets, one under the tree and another HO in a corner. We pack them up at the end of the season. Our grandson 8 is still into Thomas. I used to take him to Houston’s Area Live Steamers, HALS. Atlanta has one too. Some retired gentlemen keep it running and share the joy of a ten minute ride over several acres. Perhaps your neck of the woods has an Area Live Steamers…looking into the future, it’s perfect for the grandchildren. (wink) My husband has made my teaching career possible…no, I couldn’t have done it without him. So I try to follow his inclinations whenever I can. Thank you for writing this. Reading our spouse’s interests and following up on them…that is loving. What a wonderful couple you make.


    1. I’ll be sure to read your comment to my hubby because he would be so interested in what you had to say about the railroad in Arkansas (we traveled on a steam engine there once) and about Houston’s Area Live Steamers. Thanks for that info! Now that we’re fully in the empty nest, I think it’s high time I follow up on my hubby’s interests. The children were so much of our focus for so long, we’re just now getting used to this ‘couple time’ again.


  3. There is a life lesson in this blog post for sure! It’s the joy of giving and loving we all hear so much about and you have brought them both back to life.


  4. Applause!! My hubby is SO good about always doing things to make me happy, I really need to pay closer attention to things he likes to do. Thanks for the lesson: I’ll report back soon!

    Glad you BOTH had a joy-filled afternoon. It’s easy to see in the pictures how much your hubby was enjoying the exhibit. good for you!


    1. Exactly! My hubby is also so very good at making me happy. He’s more than due his fair share of me reciprocating. Can’t wait to hear what you decide to do for Motor Man, but I hope you enjoy your times together, no matter what.


  5. Oh, I’m feeling weepy now–so sweet!! Isn’t it difficult when we ourselves are so tied up with other projects (esp. weddings!), interests, to set it all down and go, at times?
    My husband has been a model train buff, too, since he was little. We used to take the kids to model train stores, and to see trains, like his Dad used to do in Detroit. We have many treasured boxes in our attic, just waiting to be opened again!
    I love looking at them, although I don’t know much about them; I thought the little miniature scenes were enchanting.
    Your last paragraph rings so true for me as well–thank you for sharing this.


    1. Ah-oh, we have some more things in common!! If our hubbies got together, I know what they’d be spending time talking about! 😉 After he retired, my Dad (who did not work on the railroad) used to set up his train display every Christmas; he derived just as much joy from showing it to visitors as he did actually setting it up. Maybe someday, our hubbies will have time to do the same. Think they’ll let us help?? I’m so pleased you enjoyed the post.


So...what do you think? Tell me. I appreciate your feedback and read each comment. Thank you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.