Thursday, July 23, 2009

Rollercoasters and Life

I am not a fan of roller coasters. I don't like the stomach rush. I don't like the climb because I know there will be a fall. I don't like the sudden twists and turns and jerks. And they are more sudden and surprising because I don't see them coming. Because I don't look. I don't like wondering if the track is going to hold together or if I will be thrown out or if the machine is going to fly off the track. Basically, I don't like the feeling of not being in control. And once you are on a "coaster," you certainly can't scream to be let off.

In the Tomorrowland section of the Magic Kingdom in Disney World towers Space Mountain. It's billed as the "largest mountain" in Florida, 180 feet high and 300 feet in diameter. There are 2 rocket-shaped vehicles with 3 seats each. They blast off from 2 separate tracks that "mirror each other in twists and drops." The left side track is called Alpha, and the right side track is called Omega.

Abby was about 7, and I said I would climb the mountain with her. I didn't really grasp that it was a "thrill ride" until it was too late to change my mind, although the fact that Jeremy was not tall enough to enter the Space Port should have tipped me off that it might not be my "speed."

We raced and twisted through "outer space" and sometimes total darkness at only 28 miles an hour. It seemed a lot faster, but it wasn't too bad, and I was not really afraid. Until Abby, who was seated behind me, stopped screaming. I couldn't turn around to see if she was okay. What if she had passed out? What if she had fallen out? But she was fine. She loved it.

I was a good mom.

Then there was the trip to Cedar Point a year or so later, and Abby couldn't wait to ride the Magnum.

It was billed as the "tallest, fastest roller coaster in the world at 205 feet tall with top speeds of 72 miles an hour." Gulp! Abby was so excited. I steeled myself. I would be a good mom and ride it with her. But I got more and more anxious as the line inched along. I wanted to drop out. Oh, how I wanted to run away! But I didn't want to disappoint her.

That ride was one of the longest 2 minutes of my life. I squeezed my eyes, clenched my teeth, and white-knuckled the bar as we began the first incline, heading toward a 60-degree drop--one of the steepest in the world. I jerked from side to side but didn't scream, didn't speak throughout the ordeal. When we slowed to a stop, I heard the lady's voice behind me, "Ma'am, ma'am, are you all right?" I shook my head. I'm sure I was as white as a spa towel.

We stopped to look at the pictures that were displayed for purchase. There I was with face grotesquely distorted, and people were laughing. I pretended to check my shoelaces and crept away from the crowd hoping nobody recognized me.

But I was a good mom.

Life is often like a roller coaster. There are periods of calm where we coast along and enjoy the ride. There are mountains to climb, but then we drop into deep valleys. There are wicked twists that we don't see coming. Sometimes fear overtakes us or we feel so nauseous we think we will simply pass out. And there is no getting off.

But there is One who will ride with us if we ask Him to. He'll throw back His head and laugh with us through all the wind-in-the-face times. He'll hold us tight when things get scary, and He will never, ever let go or let us fall. We do not need to be afraid or try to be in control because HE is in control. He is THE Alpha and Omega. He is with us from beginning to the end, not in a "magic" kingdom but in todayland and tomorrowland in His glorious and everlasting kingdom!

"For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Colossians 1:13-14 (NIV)

He is a good Dad!

In which kingdom are you living?

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