Our girls love trains. Where they were born and grew up in the first years of life there were no buses, planes or trains. Moving to the city brought a whole new world of excitement to them.
"Ding gates", flashing lights, multiple carriages and train tickets. Something many of you probably grudgingly climb aboard everyday to make the way to work. To my girls it was a whole new world.
In the mid-year school holidays last year I took my girls to a "Day out with Thomas" at the National Rail Museum in Port Adelaide. Prior to that my girls had not watched Thomas the Tank Engine and had only seen pictures. After a day spent riding new and old trains, entertainers such as "The Amazing Drumming Monkeys" and Cool for Kids, sausages in bread and all of the old time fair type amusements I felt like the best mother in the world.
Well this was one of the lowest times in my life. Yet this day where I forced myself to go out on a cold and wet Sunday, missed the train and had to drive, I was awakened to the joys that do exist in everyday life. Our children. I was truly grateful for my children that day.
Don't get me wrong I loved them more than ever, had never had trouble bonding with them, but never felt 100% that this was "it" in life. That day I realised it was and I did it all by myself.
Now enough of my history lets get to the real history of The Gratitude Train - The Merci Train.
Post World War II the French sent to America 49 boxcars full of gifts from the French people. The boxcars the French sent were originally sent to Europe in World War I and were used throughout both WWI and WWII to transport soldiers to the front. There is also some evidence that they carried Jewish victims to the concentration camps. If their walls could talk, imagine the tales they could tell.
These boxcars transported some soldiers to the place where they would fight for a nation and take their final steps and never come home. There isn't much to them and they are certainly not flash.
There was another train also sent from America to France after the war carrying supplies that the French would need to recover and this travelled across the USA to collect supplies. This train was known as The Friendship Train. This was a symbolic and heartfelt gift that two powerful nations presented to each other powered by the gratitude of everyday people.
So what do we have to be grateful for? To me the list is endless and a gratitude journal or board is a great way to start documenting all the wonderful things that are out there. For me I am grateful that all I have ever wanted to do is help people and do something good. I am a constant thinker, but along with that I think so much I procrastinate.
I am grateful that I love thinking, learning, reading and sharing the things I learn. Does it make me a know it all? Absolutely not, what good is having knowledge if you can't share it? There is no joy in selfishly keeping things to yourself, in sharing we create conversation and in conversation we create friends, with friends we create communities and what better way to connect with people than to share.
So if you have something that you are grateful for and want to share it post a comment with me.
Or if you have an idea to promote gratitude let us know, there are some great minds out there, so don't be afraid to share yours.
Take care it is a great world out there!
http://www.gratitudetrain.typepad.com/ accessed 24/8/2011.
http://www.mercitrain.org/ accessed 25/8/2011