The other day was seemingly the same mundane commute home on the train. Since I was still in my boot and on crutches I had to take the elevator. I stepped into the elevator. Then I saw some commotion and watched a few people swipe cards on the card reader. I heard "75 cents, oh 25 cents, what did you have?" as I held the elevator door open. Next thing I knew three people crowd in with me. And when I say crowd in, I mean crowd. Completely violating the standard Seattle elevator space tolerance. They were right up against me in a very large elevator.
There was something immediately distinct with the trio. They were not standard commuters. The little older gray haired woman smiled a somewhat toothless smile. The skinny young man was very talkative. And the older gentleman was pushing a small cart/suitcase type thing. Before the door shut the older man said to me, "what did you do?" as he looked at my crutches and boot. I said, "a stress fracture." He grimaced, "oh a break, huh?" Immediately, the skinny young man gasped and said "oh my goodness! Did I step on you and break your foot?" I chuckled, that nervous laugh. (What in the world?) Okay. Assessment. The older man had some sense. The younger one, not working with a full deck. Okay. I could handle this. The older woman turned to me grinning her nearly toothless grin. "What did you do, honey?" I repeated it again. "Oh my, what's that?" Now mind you, the elevator goes down one level. That's it. Within 25 seconds I have this family nearly crushing me. Trying to understand me. I believed that if the woman could have petted me, she would have. Within another 25 seconds, we exited the elevator (thankfully.) I asked them if they were taking the Sounder. "Yes," said the young man, "it's my treat. We've never been on a train before and we are going to Everett." I explained that the train on the right is the one to Everett. Secretly relieved they weren't going to Tacoma. I was not in a very friendly or cordial mood.
Again the woman asked me, "what did you do honey? Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness." I tell her again, "stress fracture." She smiled that grin and again almost pawed at me. I slowly moved with my crutches as I watched the two men start to move ahead. She tried to stay with me but knew she needed to catch up with the other two. I released her by saying, "go on ahead and have a great trip!" I smiled as much as I could to reassure her I was okay. She rejoined her family as I continued to make my way to my train.
It was then I saw it. Their sheer wonder and delight at the size of the train and at the height of the train engine. Trying to explore and absorb every single detail of this monstrosity of a machine. I smiled a smile that came from deep down of bottom of my toes and up through my body. It warmed my heart and softened that hardness that had been consuming me for weeks now.
The little things. They saw wonder and joy of my daily commute vehicle. They experienced awe and excitement of my somewhat mundane method of transportation. How much in life do I take for granted? How many experiences do I not look at through the eyes of wonder and amazement. I realize I can't possibly do that for everything. But I think perhaps the more important lesson here is to understand that we are not all the same. We see differently. We love differently. We laugh differently. But we see. We love. And we laugh. It is within our differences that wonder, joy, amazement, awe and beauty are discovered. When my heart warmed and shell softened, I saw life in its simplest form. I saw love of a family. I saw kindness of strangers. I saw joy shared. I saw that my temporary hassle of crutches is nothing. That I need to look beyond the inconvenience and enjoy life. For I never know when that wondrous discovery might happen for me.
Post-script. As I sat down in my seat, I felt a sense of panic. Oh no! What if they were planning to come back to Seattle tonight?! They can't. There is no return train in the evenings. It was then that I placed them into the hands of fate. Someone kind will help them. Of that I was sure. I may never see them again. But I do know that the lesson I learned that day will never leave me.