This past spring, my family and I visited Adventureland for the first time ever. We figured that since we were so close, why not take advantage of the opportunity. At the time it sounded like such a good idea--a chance to do a little family bonding on a beautiful, spring day.
At first I was having a blast. The crowd was small and we weren't having to fight the masses or stand in winding lines. The first ride we got on was my personal favorite, the ferris wheel. Though it does go a little too high for my comfort, still it's pretty tame as far as rides go. From the ferris wheel, we roamed further into the park. As we walked along, I breathed in the sunshine and enjoyed the atmosphere around me. That is, until we came upon what would be our next ride, The Space Shot. My first ride of this nature in years.
I guess it would be good to let you know at this point that I'm not much of a risk taker. I don't like ups and downs. So the fact that it was called the Space Shot should have been my first clue that I was not going to enjoy it. In fact, as I was being strapped in by the harness, I began to have second thoughts.
By that point, it was too late. The nervousness that rumbled deep inside of me, rocketed into full blown terror as the ride shot into the air and plunged back towards earth. My heart jumped about a mile above the ground and didn't return to my body until the ride was over. Getting safely onto ground, I stood on shaky legs and breathed a deep sigh of relief. At least I'd survived. But as we continued to walk deeper into the park, I knew the rest of the day was going to be anything but relaxing.
The next ride we got on was a roller coaster called the Outlaw, one of Adventureland's older, more "tame" roller coasters. It was a rickety, old one, and as the rails click-clacked up that first hill up, I gripped the bar tightly and held on for dear life. The plunge was terrifying. I am not a hands-in-the air girl, but beside me my daughter threw hers up in ecstasy and screeched in absolute delight. Meanwhile, I screamed my lungs out and tried desperately not to toss my cookies.
Some people love roller coasters. Not me. I've always been a play-it-safe kind of girl. I like the straightaways, no surprises, no dips, no steep climbs for me. No, sir.
In fact, that pretty much sums up life for me. I like straight, level paths. I don't even care for little bumps along the way. In fact, if my life would operate as one, long smooth sail, I'd be perfectly happy. Unfortunately in life nothing operates exactly like that. In fact, it's probably more precise to compare life to a roller coaster. There are steep climbs followed by exhilarating, terrifying plunges. It's just life. It's just part of the deal.
Remember that clip in the movie, Parenthood, where the Grandma talks about how life is so much better as a roller coaster than a merry-go-round. If you've never seen it, take time to watch it now. It's well worth your time.
Love that clip. Love that analogy. No, roller coasters aren't my favorite ride, but that's part of the deal of life that I really can't get around. So instead of fighting it and letting it terrify me, I'm going to try to enjoy the ride of life even with all its ups and downs. After all, it's the climb that makes life interesting. It's the plunges that make life fun. The twists. The turns. They all serve to give a pretty good ride, if I would just learn to relax and enjoy them.
Don't be like me, a merry-go-round girl. Learn to accept the highs and lows of life. More importantly, learn to enjoy each and every moment--whether terrifying or exhilarating and make the most of this ride we call life.