A faint smell of diesel managed to settle inside my nostrils in spite of the red clown nose covering them. Making my way to the train, the smell was joined by a burning unreachable itch, followed by a potential sneeze, aching to blast its way through the rubber nose glued to my face. All discomforts aside, Tater the Tramp had some magic to do, and some people to meet. This Make-A-Wish Train, filled with special kids, was about to pull out of the station, leaving their troubles behind for a while. A mighty band of clown friends, along with an army of entertainers, magicians, singers, face painters, balloon artists were along for the ride too.
BNSF Railway of North Texas, based in Fort Worth, brought a special train with luxury cars into the Stock Yard Station to provide a joy ride for medically fragile children and their families. They had no difficulty filling it with fun for the Make-A-Wish Foundation as entertainers of all types rallied together to bring their healing arts on board. Sharing their gifts with these beautiful families, performers with heart helped these brave kids put their struggles aside for a few hours to be surrounded by joy and wonder.
On a cool October afternoon, incredibly courageous kids, families, magicians and clowns “seize the day” for a magical journey together to celebrate our lives and each other. This is a Love Train! Carpe Diem
Even through difficult times, we have incredible capacity to use love to strengthen our endurance of suffering to experience joy. Creating joyful moments in clinical settings and elsewhere is my mission. The nurse part of me seeks comfort and relief for my patients, easing the mind and healing the spirit when health is challenged. Creative presence and clinical understanding work well together, behind the red nose.
Magic has its way of finding us in the most unlikely of places. The joy we offer to others through art, returns to us in the very act of doing it. We are all on the same train, going the same direction. The rails are set in perfect parallel for each of us. We should enjoy the ride as much as possible together.
“Trains move swiftly to their journey’s end.” The lyrics from “Believe” (Polar Express) remind me that we are only together for a brief time so we should try our best to appreciate the present moments fully. We move forward and onward, whether we are paying attention or not. If we can stay in touch with our own inner child, and with each other, we will do better to experience fuller lives staying connected in the moment. Christmas has this magic message too, and it is something that we could carry with us all year through.
This picture was taken before I knew Brett Wolf and his fiance Robyn Sanford. Just before boarding the Make-A-Wish train, the volunteers posed for a group picture. It was not until years later that I realized it captured the moment of three strangers whose’ lives would be forever linked and tragically changed. Seemingly random events, when individual lives intersect, can lead to such profound destinations. The tramp clown, magician and his lovely assistant are strangers here. None of us could have imagined the destinations we would eventually arrive to. “Destinations…are where we begin again.”
As the train returned to the station, Brett, Robyn and I were now friends. Artists from different worlds brought together in this common work of compassion. There is no greater calling in life than to offer your gifts to others. Brett shared his knowledge and friendship to make my magic stronger. Healing magic is something we can all use in our lives. When it seems the magic slipped away, we can find it again.
I’ll leave you with this Vocal Majority performance of “Believe” in hopes you will find your magic too!
And now for a big dose of pure Happy from the O’Jays..Just because it’s Friday, and I just learned how to link videos into my blog posts! So get up and dance! Right now. Wiggling in your chair doesn’t count.