my husband is the train conductor. sitting in the row behind me – my oldest daughter, a busy mother of three, shushes her children and struggles to keep them from falling off the rickety train. and then there’s me – a reluctant passenger trying to catch a glimpse of the t.v. screen; wishing i would have chosen a better place to sit. but, the train speeds on. my daughter yells at the conductor to stop the train. “the baby needs to pee-pee!” but he can’t hear her over the blaring “whooo-wooo!” and “chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga.” this irritates her to no end and she, as any concerned mother would do, clutches all three children and leaps off the train in a fury…landing clumsily on our livingroom rug. the conductor, my husband, argues that she can’t just do that – our next stop is not for another 2 minutes and he insists she must get back on her couch pillow and continue the ride. she gets back on, but in turn sends one of her babies zooming past my right ear straight into the back of his head. as the commotion continues, i turn to my left and see my youngest daughter sitting quietly in her bouncy seat. her feeding tube pressed tightly against her cheek; the whirr of the feeding pump assisting her to eat. the sight catches me off-guard eventhough i see it every day. is it make-believe too like this train ride we are on? is it all pretend; a figment of my imagination? i glimpse her loving smile with that “knowing” look of hers – she’s so wise that little girl – and tears stream down my face. no, this is not part of some storybook or some blurried dream. it is real. the doctors, the hospitals, the e.r. visits, the testing, the questions, the doubts, the sadness, the fear, the hope, the longing to be oh so far way from this…it is all real. my husband, my two daughters and i – all aboard a train not of our choosing, heading down the track of the unknown…anxiously awaiting our last stop in “Miracle”. we hang on to each other  – some days we hang on way too tight knowing deep down God just wants us to let go and if not enjoy the ride, then at least take in its striking beauty – His hands at work before our eyes…molding, changing, growing our hearts and minds…our lives broken and surrendered at His feet.

my prayer is this: let this be a flying train – the kind that flies with shimmery butterfly wings into the sky so high as shooting stars cascade above us – let our tears rain on thirsty gardens, let our laughter fill the universe, let our eyes see the things unseen and let our mouths fall open in awe of things unspoken.