I’m here now at the train station, waiting for a train where I will settle in and read a book for the next hour or so. This train will whisk me away to a change of scenery, to the lights of New York City, extra bright for the holiday season.
After an especially stressful day, I’m looking forward to this break.
I hear clapping.
Clap, clap, clap.
I buy my train ticket.
Clap, clap, clap.
I find a seat on an empty bench to wait for the train, and it gets louder.
Clap! Clap! Clap!
To my right is a little girl, about four years old. She’s clapping. And very happy about it.
Clap, clap. I love clapping!
I look over and she’s clapping, nonstop, and she invites her father to join her.
Come on! Let’s clap! Let’s keep clapping. Clap, clap, clap.
Her father joins her, and I can’t help but smile as I (and many other people in the station) watch the two of them sitting there, clapping.
Clap, clap, clap-clap-clap!
She’s right, I say to her father. Clapping is pretty fun. He smiles and nods and keeps clapping with her, clearly both very patient and very proud.
Keep clapping! Clap, clap!
This time I speak directly to her. I ask, Are you clapping for anything special?
Yeah, she told me. Clap, clap, clap.
I’m curious. What is it that your clapping for?
I’m clapping because it’s fun!
And then I start clapping, too. Just a few times. Clap, clap, clap! Just long enough for her to see me clapping and for me to see her giggle in response to my joining them.
She turns to her father again, Let’s clap faster! Keep going! Keep clapping!
I hear the chime that signals that the train is pulling into the station. I give them both a little wave and I head toward the platform.
I realize that I am now about a million times happier than I was a half hour ago, and I’m pretty sure that it’s the reason that this little girl’s path and mine crossed tonight.
She was an important reminder that there is always something to clap for.
We can clap for others, to cheer them on.
We can clap for ourselves, and be our own cheerleader.
We can clap just because it’s fun.
The important thing is to keep clapping!