Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Life Lessons from the Little Engine That Couldn't

Not unlike my positive affirmations, I also try to find my life lessons where I can. 
Sometimes they come from TV shows or movies: 

Never say yes to two different boys who ask you to the same dance. (Gidget)

Bad choices usually lead to worse choices. Like wearing a fedora and calling yourself Heisenberg. Oh and killing people. (Breaking Bad) 

Toilets are always funny! (The Spirit)

And sometimes they just come from experience:

Bangs always seem like a good idea. Until you don't want them anymore.

Not having anything to wear has no correlation with the amount of clothing you own.

No matter how many batteries or rolls of Scotch tape you own, you will never be able to find them when you need them. Ever. (Although sometimes you'll find the Scotch tape when you're looking for the batteries.)

Ben & Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk can solve any problem. Except for weight loss.

I could go on. And tell you about the life lessons I have learned from song lyrics, but I might have to save that for another time.

 Sometimes I find life lessons in children's movies and books. Like Bambi. Or, in this case, the Little Engine That Could. Yes, of course there is the obvious lesson of believing in yourself. Blah blah blah. I think I can. I think I can. But I'm not talking about the Little Blue Engine, the one that pulled the train up the mountain. No, I'm talking about the poor, broken down train that needed a ride. We don't hear much about that train. But she's a vital part of the story. And I think the best lessons come from her.

#1. She Was a Happy Little Train
How do I know she was a happy little train? Well, because it says so right there on the first page. And why was she so happy? Because she had a jolly load to carry. Oh.
I don't know about you, but "jolly" and "load" are not usually synonymous in my world. Load denotes things like burden, weight, affliction, or laundry (which is all of the above.) I don't usually think of my loads as jolly. In fact, I don't ever think of my loads as jolly. Which would explain a lot about why I am not happy much of the time. (And also about why my laundry never gets done.) Not that we can be expected to always be thrilled with our challenges. But maybe, just maybe, if we have hearts full of graditude and look for the blessings in our burdens...well, maybe we can find the jolly-ness in our loads. And we can be happy little trains, too.

#2. She Knew Her Worth
She knew she was important, this little train. Passenger Engine and Freight Engine thought they were infinitely more valuable than this silly train who carried dolls and soldiers and peppermint drops and apples. Kind Engine was nice enough, but he didn't even want to try. None of them could be bothered to help her. She was broken. And nobody else thought she was worth their time. This would cause a lot of other trains to lose hope. To think they were worthless. But she didn't let what the other trains thought of her influence how she felt about herself. She knew she was important. And she knew she was important because of the load she was carrying. And the fact that it would help others. 
No matter what anyone else thinks: We are important. We are valuable. We have something to offer. We should know our worth.

#3. She Never Gave Up
She simply could not go another inch. She tried and she tried, but her wheels would not turn. 
She could have given up at this point. It would have been easier to give up. After all, it wasn't her fault she broke down. She just couldn't go any further. She tried. Wasn't that enough? Apparently not for her. Because she didn't. She just kept trying until she figured out a way. Stubborn little train.
Ummm...been there. We've all been there. That place where you try and try, but you can't go another inch? I think they call it life. It's hard. Sometimes it's painfully and ridiculously hard. The lesson here? Keep trying. Don't give up. You are needed. And help will come.

She's not the popular train, the one who broke down. She's no Little Blue Engine with her self-motivating mantras and her plucky little attitude. But I think she has some valuable lessons for us all. Definitely for me. 

And besides, you thought you could, you thought you could? Nobody likes a show off.

1 comment:

  1. You are the master of the laugh-cry blog post. And you are the master of trying and trying and never giving up. And you are the master of my heart that is so proud of you and loves you more and more each day.