Lucas Rides the Train

at 11:35 PM

Every Saturday afternoon, I ride Caltrain with my father and brother. We never have a destination.  We get on at one station, ride for 20 minutes, and then climb off and wait for the northbound train to take us home.

The tradition began because my 18-year-old brother, Lucas, has an obsession with trains. Due to his developmental disability Lucas' mentality is that of a two-year old. Lucas walks with braces and can only speak a few words. But he doesn't need words to express his joy every time the train roars into the platform. He claps his hands, giggling and shouting.

Sometimes impatient passengers stare at the boy acting like he's at Disneyland. Once, two men laughed with Lucas as he pumped his arms at the screeching train, joking, "That's right! Flag it down for us, son!"

When we buy our tickets, Dad hands Lucas the receipt because Lucas is so adamant about holding his own ticket. The conductors always smile when he tries to hand it to them as they scan for tickets.

The train rumbles past the rolling Pacific hills and urban landscape, Lucas' face glued excitedly to his window. Sipping his apple juice, he mimics the train's horn as it pumps through the stations.

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I used to resent the ride and the wait at the stations. My mind ran through lists of productive tasks I could be doing instead of wasting my time sitting on the train. But one day it struck me:  Lucas is as happy on the train as he is after we get off, even though it's over and he now has a whole week of nagging everyone about the next ride. I want to live in the moment like my brother, relish every experience without worrying about its purpose. Now, I look forward to the train ride, too. Most people sleep through it or drown it out with their iPods, and never realize that they're experiencing the highlight of my brother's week.

Of the countless lessons Lucas has taught me, the most important is that along our journeys, its not about a destination. Sometimes in life the best thing is just to sit back, take it in and enjoy the ride.

With a Perspective, I'm Hanna Evensen.

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