I 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.
My 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.
With 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.
The 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
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