Transformed by a train ride.

We can all get something from this.

It was a very average day for me, I had already gotten my morning cofee and was on the J train downtown to my work at the bank
I never really much enjoyed riding the train into downtown as there are almost always odd characters riding aboard
Growing up in the city, I saw all sorts of odd characters
from crazed homeless people talking to invisible beings to obnoxious teenagers who feel that they need to hate on everyone and everything, it gets pretty annoying
Usually on the train, I will sit back and listen to my ipod or read the morning paper trying to shut out all the random sounds around me
things were about to change for me, in a way I could never have imagined
I got on the train and sat down by a seat near the side door
I usually try to sit here so I can make a quick escape off the train without pushing through a crowd of people
today, I sat down and turned on my ipod to listen to some of my favorite music, a mix of modern jazz with hip hop influence, my favorite
a couple stops down the line, I suddenly noticed a girl in a wheelchair wheel herself onto the train
she looked to be about no greater than 13 years old, quite young
I then noticed something which made me feel a bit sad, I noticed that she had no legs, “oh thats a shame” I thought to myself
but then
something else struck me, I noticed that she seemed to be in a very happy mood, she looked to be in very high spirits as she happily opened up her bag and took out a book and started reading it
Hm, nice to see someone in a cheerful mood, I thought to myself
I went back to looking through my music when I looked outt he window and realized my stop was in 3
I looked down the row to the girl in the wheelchair and noticed that she was struggling trying to reach the chord to pull down to signal the train operator to make a stop
there were many standing around her but nobody was willing to help
“Wow way to help out guys” I whispered under my breath and got up and pulled on the chord for her
Ah thanks! she said in a cheerful voice, I can never reach those things very well
“Ah no problem, I said to her, They really should make these lower for people who are in wheelchairs
Yeah, haha, she laughed, her stop arrrived and she wheeled herself off thanking me again
Nice girl, I thought to myself, I looked at the time and realized that I might be a few minutes late for work, oh great, the last thing I needed was my boss yelling “LINDA, WAI AH YU SO LATE AWL TA TIME”
but oh well, I deal with it
the next day, I saw the young girl on the train again, and again, she was not able to quite reach the cable to signal the train to a stop, I again helped her with this
interesting enough, this ended up being a pattern almost everyday
I started talking to her, and found out that her name was Cindy, and she had just moved here from Chicago with her Mom and younger brother
she went to school by train which was why I started seeing her everyday
There was one day where I asked her how she ended up without legs, this is something I wanted to ask from the start, but it can be a sensitive issue for some, hence my waiting until I knew here a bit more
She explained to me how she had developed a very sever bone cancer that spread to both her legs at the age of 8, and the doctors had no choice but to remove both legs
hearing this made me feel very sad
I couldnt imagine what it must be like, to live as a playful child running and playing all the time, and to suddenly have that stripped from you at such a young age
one thing still struct me though
the entire time I talked with Cindy, no matter what day
she always seemed so happy, always filled with Joy, more than anyone I had ever met
I remember one day, I asked her about this…
Her reply really had an impact on me…
“Haha, yeah lots of people notice that about me!, kinda funny actually, I guess I just tend to notice the joyful things in life is all”
“But, how?” I asked her. “I mean, don’t take this as bad, but, you lost your legs to a cancer, and since then your mobility and abilitiy to do certain things…”
“Oh yeah I know that” Said Cindy, still sounding cheerful as ever
“but, heres the thing”
“when I lost my legs, indeed, I felt really sad, and I didn’t understand why something like this had to happen to me”
But then one day, I realized something
If I sit there all the time, feeling sad and depressed for what I dont have, will that really get me anywhere?”
“I guess not…” I said slowly
“Well then” Said CIndy, “Whats the point? “I had a choice, sit there and feel sorry for myself and be totally set apart from any joy and hapiness, or do I move forward and find joy despite my circumstances?”
Lets face it, everyone likes being happy right?
“true” I said
“Then why would we want to subject ourselves to feeling totally the opposite and no happiness? That doesnt make much sense, its downright silly!”
“think of it this way”
“what makes a car owner sad, when he sees his neighbor has just gotten a new car thats super nice and modern and fancy? What makes a young child cry when he sees a candy bar at the store? think of anything like this, people focus too much on things that they don’t have, instead of looking at the things that they do have!”
If I spent my time wishing I had legs still, longing to be like everyone else who can still walk, wouldnt I be sad all the time?
But instead, what if I instead think of this way, I may not have legs, but you bet thanks to wheeling myself around, I have INTENSE AMOUNTS OF ARM STRENGTH!”
I couldnt help but laught at this, she was funny!
“I bet I have more arm strength then any other person in my school thats for sure, " See? If I didn’t have this happen, I wouldnt be able to have the strength I do now, or maybe I would have, but thats not the point”
“the point is that God created me and has a plan for my life, I don’t know why this happened to me, but if God is in control, what do I have to fear? SOmething great is going to happen thats for sure, and I wake up everyday in a joyful mood cause I know God has such a great plan for me in store, and for everyone else too! you too!”
This was something meaningful for me, I had grown up in church and remembered the bible verses that talked about God having a plan for our lives
Cindy was an amazing individual, one who I am so happy to have met, her joy and hapinees despite her circumstance had an impact on my life as well
Instead of waking up, everyday, feeling like it was the same old pattern everyday, she taught me how to see everyday as a new adventure, something new for God to show me, something awesome.
I also felt that she helped me be more joyful, her outlook on life to see the things that we are blessed with really changed my life
Cindy soon also became quite the character on the train, as her laughter and hapiness proved to be contagious as others around would also join in to take the time to talk with her, joke with her, she really made allot of friends,she didnt even mind spreading joy to the odd homeless people and the obnoxious teenagers, who after a while, started not being so obnoxious seeming anymore…
Soon it seemed like everyone wanted to be the one to pull the chord down of the train for her stop, everyone was so friendly
Our friendship also grew to be very close, we pretty much became best friends…
On a day in august, I got a call from another friend of Cindy’s who told me that the doctors had just found out that Cindy’s cancer had returned and they needed to treat her as soon as possible
I remember visiting her in the hospital, she was just as happy as ever!, It was so amazing to see her joke with the nurses and doctors, just always happy as ever
there was something she said one day, when we had found out that she didnt have much time to live…
“I will miss everyone, but look at it this way! I get to go see Jesus! I have always wanted to know what he looks like! how can I not be excited about that! but who knows if its my time yet or not, he is in control of that! haha, but boy, I wonder if I can fly in heaven, that would be so cool, or maybe even talk to animals! I love horses, do you like horses Ms Linda?”
What a joyful spirit
it was 2 days later, that I got the call, she had passed away in the night, the battle with cancer was over and she was now in heaven with the lord
I cried quite a bit that night, but as sad as I was, I also felt a great joy
the thought of seing Cindy up there in heaven, walking, running, playing, and yes, even chatting it up with those horses she so loved
I learned allot from her, she was truly an amazing individual who impacted so many lives
the train rides although without Cindy, proved very fun and happy still
people had been impacted and learned from Cindy’s lifestyle, and everyone I say everyday was just having fun, joking, laughing, being friendly, its always nice to see now
totally a change from the train rides of before when everyone just stood there with their ipods in their ears or texting
I still miss Cindy very much
and I always think of her, everytime I pull that chord to stop the train at my stop, the train that is now installed about 2 feet lower than before.


This is one of those times where there’s so many little things in that story that I can’t even begin to talk about them. Well, I’m sure you know how that is.

Kind of reminds me of “Letters to God”. It also puts into perspective how short life can be, we need to live each day like it’s our last.

thats story shows just how much we take for granted every day :slight_smile: