I remember going to Cedar Point just a few years ago and not wanting to ride roller coasters. As a kid I definitely wasn't a thrill-seeker or an avid roller coaster rider but I do remember the thrill of the Magnum. To me it was a straight forward, brilliant roller coaster - just straight up and then straight down again. I loved the build-up, the sense of fear and excitement, the thrill of going down and the rush that you felt. It was awesome.
I tried it a few years ago.
Didn't like it.
It was just terrifying and made me kind of queasy.
My roller coaster days are over, I think.
And I thought about that today as I was reading a book about roller coasters to my kids - all safely and warmly bundled up on our couch under blankets, eating pancakes. Why am I not a roller coaster person anymore? Have I gotten too old? Am I not fun anymore? Am I just a wimp?
And I think that it's because when you are young there is part of you that is always looking around the corner, wondering what is coming next and what BIG THING is going to happen. For the most part I, and the kids I knew, were safe, sheltered from what the world can bring, what it can seemingly, randomly deal out. Real tragedy, real fear was not a regular part of life. So it seemed no big deal to jump on a ride and to feel fear, to feel uncertainty, to feel the thrill of the unknown. It was exciting.
But now I know.
I know the thrill of getting married......................and staying married.
I know fear because I have birthed children and have watched them, with trepidation, grow and change and begin their walk away from me.
I know how far down my stomach can drop because I have heard the phone ring and I have listened as someone has to speak words out loud that should never be spoken.............all the while, thinking this can't be true, this can't be true. I am here cooking dinner, sleeping, playing with my children, just walking the steps of daily life and for someone else life has stopped.
I know the joy of walking with the Lord, of feeling His presence so closely that for a moment you are enveloped in the purest of Love. You think you never want to move, to even breath in that moment because you might break it.
I know the excitement of wearing underwear of my head and declaring war on the boys, sneaking around the house, hanging daddy's underwear all over the tree fort, spraying him with water and then RUNNING AS FAST AS POSSIBLE to the van and locking the doors..........waiting for the revenge, which is sure to come and that will SURELY BE COMPLETELY DISPROPORTIONATE to the crimes committed against him.
I know uncertainty because I have learned NOTHING is certain, peek all you want..........life can change in a flash. To be prepared always be aware that you are utterly unprepared.
So I think that as I have grown older that I don't need the manufactured emotions of the roller coaster. I live the roller coaster. To pay an incredible amount of money to be thrilled and scared and to feel my stomach drop, to know joy and excitement and uncertainty is just crazy.
As I grow older, I find I like the log ride :) A slow and gentle journey, carried along on ripples of water. One hill, a little splash and you have your whole family with you - nice and safe and happy and laughing. That's the ride for me. A little escapism for my money.
How 'bout you? What's your ride?