On the Train to Secaucus

My daughter-in-law’s mother and me

Friday afternoon I received a phone call from my daughter-in-law’s mother.  We don’t talk often, but whenever we do, I always come away from the conversation with a new insight or appreciation of life as this woman focuses on Life’s gifts everywhere she turns.

I could hear the excitement in her voice the moment I answered the phone.  I can’t remember all the details, but she had taken the train into Penn Station in New York City for an appointment.  In the station she noticed a young man playing the guitar and singing.  He had a hat out for tips.  His voice was pleasant and my friend took the time to stop and listen  for a few minutes before she continued on her way.

When her appointment was over, she went back to the train station and caught the next train to Secaucus, and as she took her seat, she turned her head, and sitting across the isle from her was the young musician. Of all the trains and all the train cars and all the train schedules, this young man, who had started her day with such a sweet beginning, was sitting beside her on a train bound for Secaucus.

“This is not a coincidence, wouldn’t you agree, Susan?” my friend asked. She watched this young man take out a croissant and begin to eat it. “He would pull off tiny piece after tiny piece and let each bite melt in his mouth before he ate another one. I watched his musician’s fingers delicately pinch off each piece. You could tell he appreciated every bite. It was as though it was a prayer he was saying with each morsel. And I thought of you and George and how George had said such a beautiful prayer the night of our children’s rehearsal dinner, and I knew I had to call and share this with you.”

My friend continued that later that day (whether she was still on the train or was at home, I don’t recall) she had an apple. She looked at the apple and thought of the musician, and she ate her apple “prayerfully,” savoring each bite, fully aware of its sweetness, and thankful for it.

I came away from that conversation with such awe. I want to always live life by being fully present in each moment, fully aware of Life’s sweetness. This amazing woman, time after time, makes me stop and breathe, makes me want to slow down and savor the moments, makes me want to really see the world instead of rushing through it. I wonder what today will show me?

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About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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32 Responses to On the Train to Secaucus

  1. Amy says:

    A wonderful story of new insight and appreciation of life. Thank you for sharing, Susan!

  2. sliceofshanghai says:

    What a sweet story! I love the idea of truly living in the present and not rushing through it.

  3. I loved this post! I’ve been working on enjoying each moment and living in the present. Especially hard for Americans to do it seems! (Or so my European friends tell me…:)

  4. Emily says:

    I love the idea of living prayerfully as a way to stay present in each moment. What a beautiful story!

  5. Al says:

    You picked the absolute perfect cartoon to compliment your great story!

  6. dorannrule says:

    Congratulations Susan! I couldn’t resist giving you the Reader Appreciation Award! I have loved your blog from the very beginning – just so you know. Check out the rules (minimal) on my new blog. 🙂 Dor

  7. pattisj says:

    What a sweet story, Susan. It’s nice to see families that get along. 🙂

  8. Beautiful. We need to take the time to appreciate and to reflect. 🙂

  9. Oh how I loved that! She is an amazing woman, but I guess no surprise, because she has an amazing daughter. So glad to call them family.

  10. What a blessing to see this today…you have no idea how much I needed to read this and be reminded..Thank You! The photo of the two of you is beautiful. I have goosebumps in the knowledge that there are no coincidences.

  11. To me there are three thoughts on new days. First, I try to thank God for the day every morning when I awake. I say a quick prayer like this, “Thanks for this day, let me make the most of it for You.” The second is a quote I have often used, “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” –Anne Shirley”
    ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
    and the third is a scripture,
    Lamentations 3:22-23
    New Living Translation (NLT)
    22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends![a]
    His mercies never cease.
    23 Great is his faithfulness;
    his mercies begin afresh each morning.

    Thank you for this post, it was a devotional to me, as I need to see the beauty of each day fresh like your friend has mentioned. DAF

  12. Thank you for this wonderful reminder, Coming East. 🙂

  13. A good reminder to tune in to every moment with gratitude. Thanks for sharing…

  14. Oh, I just loved this! Now that school is winding down this week, I’m also thinking I need to really slow down and just savor things. This will be the last summer I have with my kids before I go back to work so I want to make it count. Thanks for the reminder.

  15. Jenny says:

    This is a good reminder to me. My days seem to fly by. Summer vacation is just two days away and I will need to cherish our moments.

    • Coming East says:

      Oh, yes, Jenny. I remember those days. With school out and the kids always looking for ways to entertain themselves,MIT can sometimes wear us mothers down. It’s easy to miss special moments, and then they’re gone too soon. I’d give anything to have a summer with those little children of mine.

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