I know I can….

This post is dedicated to the little engine in my life.

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.  A popular line from a children’s story of The Little Engine That Could.   When I first decided to blog about this famous line I had a totally different approach in mind.  My first thoughts were to talk about how life sometimes presents us with struggles that we don’t think we can get through, and if we focus and set our mind to the task of surviving that struggle, then just as the little engine, we will also climb our hill.  I wanted to do more research on the story and when I stumbled upon a version by Watty Piper I was blown away, and immediately changed my point of view.  Take a moment to read this story and my remarks will follow.

Little Engine That Could - Uknown

The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper

A little steam engine had a long train of cars to pull.

She went along very well till she came to a steep hill. But then, no matter how hard she tried, she could not move the long train of cars.

She pulled and she pulled. She puffed and she puffed. She backed and started off again. Choo! Choo!

But no! the cars would not go up the hill.

At last she left the train and started up the track alone. Do you think she had stopped working? No, indeed! She was going for help.

“Surely I can find someone to help me,” she thought.

Over the hill and up the track went the little steam engine. Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo!

Pretty soon she saw a big steam engine standing on a side track. He looked very big and strong. Running alongside, she looked up and said:

“Will you help me over the hill with my train of cars? It is so long and heavy I can’t get it over.”

The big steam engine looked down at the little steam engine. The he said:

“Don’t you see that I am through my day’s work? I have been rubbed and scoured ready for my next run. No, I cannot help you,”

The little steam engine was sorry, but she went on, Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo!

Soon she came to a second big steam engine standing on a side track. He was puffing and puffing, as if he were tired.

“That big steam engine may help me,” thought the little steam engine. She ran alongside and asked:

“Will you help me bring my train of cars over the hill? It is so long and so heavy that I can’t get it over.”

The second big steam engine answered:

“I have just come in from a long, long run. Don’t you see how tired I am? Can’t you get some other engine to help you this time?

“I’ll try,” said the little steam engine, and off she went. Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo!

After a while she came to a little steam engine just like herself. She ran alongside and said:

“Will you help me over the hill with my train of cars? It is so long and so heavy that I can’t get it over.”

“Yes, indeed!” said this little steam engine. “I’ll be glad to help you, if I can.”

So the little steam engines started back to where the train of cars had been standing. Both little steam engines went to the head of the train, one behind the other.

Puff, puff! Chug, choo! Off they started!

Slowly the cars began to move. Slowly they climbed the steep hill. As they climbed, each little steam engine began to sing:

“I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I think I can – I think I can – I think I can I think I can–“

And they did! Very soon they were over the hill and going down the other side.

Now they were on the plain again; and the little steam engine could pull her train herself. So she thanked the little engine who had come to help her, and said good-by.

And she went merrily on her way, singing:

“I-thought-I-could! I-thought-I-could! I-thought-I-could! I-thought-I-could! I thought i could – I thought I could – I thought I could – I thought I could – I thought I could – I thought I could I thought I could –“

If you are like me you are probably a little teary eyed after reading that.   I had heard that story as a child but as an adult it means so much more to me, and IT MAKES SENSE!!!!  During my struggle I gravitated towards people stronger than me.  First was my lawyer, she was a little ball of fire!  My counselor was a strong, confident person.  The family member’s that I looked to for guidance were strong in their marriages, and the friends I confided in were always stronger than I.  

Now don’t get me wrong all of those people were instrumental in giving me what I needed during that crucial time.  But once it was over I needed something different.  The key line that stole my heart in this story is  After a while she came to a little steam engine just like herself.   I am totally in love and blown away with that simple line.  At first she thought only the strong could help her and in the end it was the one most like her that brought victory.

This is why I think my blog and other’s like mine is so important to those going through struggles of life.  Along with support groups for the grief you are dealing with.  I never thought that finding and confiding in someone just like me was what I needed.  But in order to be successful for both you and your little engine, you must lay all cards on the table.  During my early months of counseling I held back.  I held back in talking with family.  I had no idea that I needed  someone the same as I.

I am elated to say that about a year and  a half ago I found my little engine.  Someone who went through the same thing I did.  We were able to share stories, vent to each other.  We were an understanding companion during the time of trying to survive what we went through.  In that process I  was able to find myself again.  I was able to straight up tell it like it really is, and in doing so I am forever changed.  I’d like to say the same for my little engine partner, as I  have seen so much growth in both of us.

It is a blessing and a gift to be able to mend your heart and grow alongside of someone who is dealing with the same feelings you are.  The lesson I have learned is that you don’t always have to look for the strong in order to become stronger.  The experience of growing strong along side someone who was also gaining strength through me is an experience of a lifetime!

Do you have your engine to heal with?  I strongly recommend you seek out someone just like yourself to share a journey with.  A promise of a rewarding and lasting bond awaits you.

I encourage you to share your story of how an engine helped you or how you helped another little engine and together we will all be able to say………I know I can, I know I can, I know I can.


Courageous Butterfly


Related Blogs:

Lovely Quotes:  Little Engine That Could

The Little Engine That Could, and the Outsider Mother

Sharing Grief

Helping Friends Grieve, Why I Share

6 thoughts on “I know I can….

  1. This is so true. By having an ‘equal’ person to help you through means you still have to do at least half the work yourself and therefore you learn more, become stronger and get a greater feeling of accomplishment when you get to the top. As opposed to just leaning on someone who is stronger to begin with and has all the supposed answers.
    I have found that blogging has been really great in finding people going through similar life events and helping me get to the other side. Thanks for the post 🙂


  2. YES!!! I totally agree about the blogging. It has helped me tremendously. Creating this blog has given me the chance to take time to reflect on what happened and truly see the changes that have come from my situation. Ironically it was my little engine partner that encouraged me to blog, and was kind enough to help me name it; even served as my muse on occasion. When we first decided to go up our hills together we were both at different stages of our healing, but during the climb we grew stronger through each other. We formed a bond and created a life long friendship in the process.

    Anyone else have a similar experience?? Please share.


  3. You have a way of putting words to the feelings many of us have felt. I wish I could be as expressive as you – but yes, no matter what our struggles we need someone equal to understand what we feel. Thanks for your beautiful blogs!


  4. Rosemary, isn’t it funny that growing up I was always the quiet one, never had anything to say about any situation. I guess I was saving it all up for now. When I express how I’m feeling on the blog it is very cleansing for me. With each post I am doing a cleanse of EMOTIONAL TOXINS…..Wow, now that’s a great blog title. See, that’s how they start. With just picking out two important words from a sentence I have a title, then I just wait until the words are ready to come out. Thanks again for your wonderful comment.


  5. I have seen first hand how two people going through the same thing, and sharing each other’s load, will help both to heal and grow in so many ways. It is so amazing to be leading someone away from the edge of her emotional cliff, only to find that the whole time she’s been pulling you in from yours. I have regained so much confidence and self worth through that experience. And I will always love her for how she changed me. She truly is a courageous butterfly.

    The Little Engine Partner


    1. Someone, it seems you have a natural gift of making a gal cry with her morning coffee! I was so surprised and honored by your comment. I appreciate your taking the time to share your side of our journey together so that other’s can see that it really does help.

      I encourage other’s reading this post to keep commenting with your stories, together we will help other’s up their hills.


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