This morning, likely prompted by the theme park series at church, I was thinking about rollercoasters.
Remembering when I was a little girl and the annual trip to either Cedar Point, Kings Island or Disney took place ~ the anticipation! We all know the main reason kids love these places is due to the rollercoaster.
As I’d stand in line waiting my turn, I’d watch those people who had just come off of the ride; they were breathless, giggling, reliving the moments of the greatest thrills and remarking about the suspense of the ascension, knowing that the downward drop was the next phase. For approximately 3 minutes, life is out of control and exciting….but what would have happened if they had kept you on the rollercoaster for 30 minutes? An hour? Two? Days that drift into years?
I was kind of like that as a teenager~ knowing the “thrills” of life would result in nausea and having my stomach drop from the quick descent and I did it anyway. As teenagers often think, I felt like I was in control of the ride and there was very little danger of the coaster jumping the track and causing permanent injury…so maybe the descent was worth it to me at the time. I don’t know.
But I grew up.
As I look around, I am heartbroken because there are so many people who are on that ride and they risk their health, their reputation and their spirituality for very short moments of danger. They have forgotten the rollercoasters of their youth; what goes up must come down. The ascent always results in the descent.
But there is good news….we’re all in control of the ride. We can stop what started out as a day at the park and choose to get out of the seat. Choose to eliminate the risk and harm that can occur when we live our lives in a constant circle of ups and downs, twists and turns.
When I see this trait in someone ~ and there are so many people living like this ~ I wonder why they didn’t learn what I learned back when I was 17. Was I the lucky one, after all? To have learned difficult life lessons at such a young age without really hurting anyone but me?
Today, I am hopeful. I think some of the lives are changing and they aren’t forging that road alone. They are reaching out to people who are strong in faith; placing their weaknesses at God’s feet and asking for help. That isn’t a sign of weakness, friends. That is a sign of hope and full redemption.