Lake Superior Train Museum in Duluth, MN. At the museum we fully expected him to burst with excitement, eager to get on a real train and see it up close, but instead, he cried, his heart raced beneath my hand and he jumped off the train and ran back to his stroller, refusing to get out again.
No matter how much we reassured him it was safe, he wouldn't get on board. I was amazed that he didn't believe us, the people he can trust most. Even when we got on the train and smiled and waved for him to join us, he still wouldn't budge. He shook his head and said: "Nope!"
He loves trains, so I knew how much he was missing. When he hears a train crossing the trestle above the river behind our house, he shouts with excitement and runs to the window to watch it. When it has passed, he cries. He lives and breathes trains.
At the museum I wanted him to get over his fear and climb up those steps and take a look from the inside out. I wanted him to trust me when I reached out my hand. This was his chance to get on board and experience it firsthand. When would he get this opportunity again?
It occurred to me, when God brings me close to my dream and says: "Get on board!" I sometimes act like my two-year-old. I look right and left at the big, scary opportunity, I hear the wheels chugging and the steam blowing and my heart pounds within my chest. I feel that nasty panic rise up in my throat and I shake my head and say an emphatic "Nope!"
Then God reaches out His hand to me and says gently, "Come on. Trust me. This is your dream."
I shake my head, not willing to budge from my safety zone. The fear continues to whisper all the possibilities of failure, pain and trouble if I get on board.
But God doesn't give up. "You can trust me more than anyone else. I'll never leave your side. I want you to see this dream from the inside out. Come on board, I'm about to give you the ride of a lifetime, if you'll take that step and follow me."
I want to believe Him. I do. I want to get on board. I want to feel it and touch it and smell it. I want to see where it will take me. I want to see if it's everything I dreamed it would be. I've heard that whistle calling and I've watched it go by with joy and pleasure. I live and breathe my dream.
When I get up close, though, and fear strikes my heart, it seems so much easier to return to safety. The fear is shouting at me to walk away.
But I learned something a long time ago that my two-year-old has yet to learn: I can get on board, even when I'm afraid. I have a choice to make. Fear cannot force me to walk away, unless I let it. When I walk toward my dream and resist the fear, it begins to subsides.
And when I'm finally on board and I see the steam building up and feel the rumble of the engines going, my heart begins to pound with a different emotion: exhilaration. I'm living the dream and it's better than I ever imagined.
I look over and see God sitting next to me. He's watching my face as I experience this thing He created for me and me alone. He is smiling. So am I.