Long before Thomas the Train there was The Little Engine That Could. Maybe you remember the story; a long train is trying to cross a high mountain. Large engines are asked to pull the train. One by one they refuse and each one gives an excuse as to why they can’t (or won’t) help. Finally the Little Engine is asked and to everyone’s amazement he is successful in pulling the train up and over the mountain as he repeats over and over, “I think I can, I think I can…”
I love the Little Engine and his determination. But the sad reality is that more often than not I’m one of the big engines – capable but unwilling. Too important to be bothered. Too busy to care. Too tired. Too lazy. Too selfish. Too proud. Too ready to say no. Too afraid to try.
But I have lots of “Little Engines” in my life. And they inspire and humble me: a friend and co-worker battling cancer with dignity and courage and amazing faith in God’s love; my two year-old grandson who is learning new things each day and stubbornly insisting upon ‘doing it himself’; my father-in-law who desperately tries to care for his ill wife even though he is barely capable of caring for himself; my wife who looks after them both (and me, too) and showers us with abundant love while never losing her amazing spirit and sense of humor; my granddaughters who each are experiencing new challenges and adventures daily and are never deterred in their quest for knowledge – soon they will be teaching me (truth be told, they already do).
So when I need encouragement; when it’s time to get off my butt and get something done, I needn’t look too far for examples to follow. When I must tackle the tough stuff, I remember those Little Engines in my life. I think about them when I’m ready to give up; when I’m ready to quit; when I want to bury my head in the sand.
The story of the Little Engine sometimes shames but mostly it inspires me. If he (they) can do it then “I think I can, I think I can, too.”