It was twelve years ago, but I still remember thinking, “I must be crazy. We’re going to leave our oldest son bereft of parents and siblings.”
Our two younger teenagers, my husband, and I drove to the Red River Ex, where we waited in a long line-up of cars for an hour before we could park. Then we paid $23 for the privilege of just entering the noisy, crowded grounds. Then we forked over another $20 and stood in line for an hour, awaiting our turn at the “Drop of Doom.”
I could hardly believe we were doing this. “Oh well, once in a lifetime...go for the gusto...life is short...”
They strap you into your seats, four abreast, then lift you 175 feet straight up and let you sit there for a moment, feet dangling. The view would be outstanding if you didn’t need to focus so hard on not wetting your pants.
Then it’s a free-fall drop until the brakes kick in, with about a third of the drop remaining.
I would have to take the ride another ten times (which I won’t) before I could adequately describe how it feels. It happens so fast, yet you’re somehow suspended in timelessness, silence, and—for me at least—darkness, since I closed my eyes.
My heart pounded, my hands shook, my knees quivered as I climbed off the ride and put my feet on solid ground again. But my goofy smile wouldn’t wipe off.
What is it about us humans that we’ll put ourselves through all that—the wait, the expense, the risk—for a few seconds of rush? What odd creatures we are, hovering so near death, entrusting our lives to the unknown engineers who designed the machine— not to mention the questionably-clad carnies who assemble and disassemble it over and over.
Why can we trust like that when we so often fail to trust an all-powerful, all-knowing God who made us and loves us beyond measure?
Is it because we see the machine with our physical eyes, and we see people taking the ride and getting safely back to earth? Worked for them, it’ll work for me.
When we learn to see with spiritual eyes, we don’t need to look far to see others around us taking the ride. People who have trusted God and not only survived, but thrived.
This week, I read a blog entry by a woman who was in the Colorado theater with her two teenage daughters the night of the shooting. I encourage you to read her experience here.
I’ve survived a few unnerving carnival rides in my life, including financial setbacks, health issues, a disabling accident in the family, and plenty of uncertainties.
Maybe 53 years is too soon to say, but so far, God has proven himself someone who can be trusted, not only to catch me but to hold my hand on the ride.
I’ll let you know if things change.
Meanwhile, free-falling can prove freeing indeed.