From the time I was very young, I have loved roller coasters.
I'm amazed by the design of roller coasters - the climbs, the drops, the loops and turns; and how the cars remain on the rails! I'm amazed that a person's mind could design all that!
I love the anticipation while standing in line - watching the faces of the people getting off the roller coaster and the change of expression of those waiting to board as they, too, see the reactions of the riders deboarding.
I love the feeling you get in your stomach as you top a long climb - just before you drop off the other side! I like the tingle in my toes and the sudden exhalation as the air is pushed out with a scream and everyone tries to look like it's no big deal -- raising both arms high in the air.
And I love riding roller coasters with good friends. Not only am I braver then, but it also extends the pleasure as we talk and laugh about it over and over again.
I've noticed an increasing similarity between those rides and the ride I'm on now -- the ride of my life. There's a constant rise and fall. A long climb that seems to never end; then, just as it does, you find yourself thinking for a second that maybe the climb wasn't quite long enough because you can't see what's on the other side.
There's the excitement of future possibility mingled with the fear of not achieving those dreams. There's the temptation to hold back -- emotionally, socially... -- because if you lay everything out in the open, what will the reaction be? Will people understand you, accept you, look up to you even... or will they be amused that you could possibly picture yourself in that light? Will you end up celebrating or will your dreams be shattered on the floor like pieces of a plate that slips from your hands?
Those ups and downs, they scare me sometimes. I get a bit anxious when I seem to stay at the crest of that climb too long. I begin to worry that the bottom really IS about to fall out. I worry that maybe this time, the coaster will somehow derail and I'll end up going over the edge, or stuck permanently at the bottom where the view is lousy!
When that fear strikes, I now realize, there's a decision to be made -- in life, anyway. I can stay where I am and enjoy the view and relative safety from that crest or I can move forward to what lies ahead, exercising faith that the Designer knows what He's doing, and that eventually the crest will be permanent and the view will be more than I can possibly imagine.
Believing that doesn't make pain and apprehension and sorrow disappear, but it makes it bearable; as does the company of those I'm riding with. I'm certain that is the most perfect part of the design -- that we're not intended to ride alone!
I don't think you'll be seeing me throw my arms up in the air like it's no big deal anytime soon, though you may hear me scream from time to time! But you will see me continuing to move forward. I cannot put into words how grateful I am for those who surround me. Thank you for constantly reminding me that I'm not alone and that there's still beauty in the ride.
I love you!