He is a roundish man, and balding. He’s dressed in a full conductor’s uniform, only it isn’t a uniform. It is a costume. He stands against a wall on the third floor of the Railway Museum. The expression he wears is defeat. It’s more than defeat. It’s absolute confusion, regret, resentment… I can read it like a book, or at least I think I can. How on earth has my life come to this? Wearing a costume and driving a toy train all day long? Mindless, worthless work. A waste.
Sure, he’s a grown man driving a toy train in an out-of-the-way corner of a Railway Museum, but this place and this man have made my son’s day. For my son the museum is a place bordering on sheer magic. It is the place he will talk about for weeks and months and quite possibly years. And this little train ride – made authentic by this roundish, balding man dressed like a conductor – is everything to him and therefore everything to me.
I wish that man could see this. I wish I could point it out to him, the happiness he has given my son and me. I wish I could express my gratitude to him. But, we are in the heart of Germany, and I don’t speak German. So I smile and say “Danke” when the ride is over. This is all I can do.
She is a roundish woman. She’s wearing peanut-butter smudges, tears, snot, and who knows what else. She stands before a sink full of dishes, a pile of laundry, clutter and toys at every turn. She feels defeated. More than defeated, she feels swallowed whole by the relentless, endless wants and needs of her children. She thinks her talents (and college degree) are going to waste. She feels like a mindless robot, doing mindless work. She feels completely unappreciated.
The woman catches a quick glimpse in the mirror and above those black circles, are two eyes that remind her of the eyes of that roundish, balding man in the conductor’s costume. And something about the man that day and about herself on this day gives her pause. She pauses long enough to see and understand what she’d forgotten.
Heavenly Parents, her true parents, her children’s true parents, are watching her. They are reading her like a book. They know that this is hard for her, they understand she feels like it’s all for nothing some days. And they’re shouting at her in a language that she isn’t tuned in to. They’re thanking her, profusely, for trading her will for Theirs, for choosing to love on and nurture these, their Little Ones. The service and love she offers will make all the difference in their lives, and this is everything to Them.
“Be not weary in well-doing,” The Spirit whispers to her, “you are doing a great work.”
And so she slogs on, through the soapy sink water and through the mountains of laundry. She watches her children play, growing a little more every day. And as she scrubs blue crayon off the wall, she leans into peace, and gratitude, and eternal perspectives, and those things make all the difference.