I can hear the chain moving….making a rapid clicking sound as it pulls the train of cars up the hill. I’m scared…unbelievably nervous. My heart is pounding and I feel as if I’ll never be able to breathe again. I take a deep breath and start screaming, as we wait ever so hesitantly, before we plunge down the embankment of the man-made mountain.
My heart is no longer in my throat. Looking back at the ride as we walk away, I wonder why a roller coaster is such a nerve-wracking experience for me? Where some people experience the rush of adrenaline, to me, it is a dread of anticipation. I don’t think I’m physically going to fall out of it, but that I may actually not live to get off of it. Why then, do I allow myself to be persuaded to get on the rides that push me to such extreme fear?
Because I think that if I do it a few more times, then the experience may have a different outcome and I won’t be so afraid of rides that even seven-year old children enjoy. I know this is supposed to be fun, but for me it is a terrifying ride. I close my eyes and my body seems to feel suspended in air briefly as we careen around loops and make a few more hills. Laughter echos around me as I feel the air whip my hair. My head is turned toward my partner, lowered, and I try to keep contact with my arm looped around his elbow and hanging onto the safety gate as if it were my lifeline. Slowly, I feel the cars break and stop, jerking gently. It’s over. Now, I let out a giggle of survival. I made it through the roller coaster ride.
What causes a person to experience fear? The fear of dark, spiders (That’s me too!), snakes, dogs, small spaces, frogs, and other phobias, can cause a person to shriek, cringe, and have other emotions that are usually out of character for them. I’m sure that I’m never going to enjoy riding rides that go fast, turn quickly, and plunge.
It’s really not the fear of height because I can go high up and eventually love the experience. When we were in high school, we went to NYC and to the top of one of the Twin Towers. I’ve been to the top of the Empire State Building, and to the crown of The Statue of Liberty. I’ve ridden the SkyWheel at Niagara Falls with Cameron and loved it. Of course, it did go at a snail’s pace to enjoy the view.
I wonder if our experiences in our younger life made us internalized fears. I remember my brother, Steven, jumping up outside a window when I was taking a bath and scaring me. I think I was about five at the time. To this day, I hate seeing black windows without lights being on outside.
When I was in second or third grade, I remember chasing my younger cousin, Cathy, with the shells of cicadas, while she fled running and screaming from me! I laughed thinking it was crazy that she was afraid of empty bug shells. At the time, I’m sure the fear was real to her, but I have no idea if they still make her cringe
I went on my first date the Fall before I turned sixteen in January. The boy, (I can’t even remember his name.) took me to a fair. I hadn’t ever been to one before. We got on a ride that resembled an umbrella with double seats under it.
I think that was the beginning of my fear of roller coasters even though it wasn’t actually one. It went around (seemed fast at the time) and up/down and then the silly thing turned around and rotated backward. I hated the feel of my stomach dropping over and over again! I wanted it to STOP! Yet, I had no control over it.
Control….we have it or we don’t. With adventure rides, most of us enjoy the sensation of exhilaration of the loss of control….or in my case, NOT.
In everyone’s life there will be experiences that they’d like to stop, but can’t and it sends us on an emotional roller coaster.
Frodo: I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.
J.R.R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings
The loss of our love ones, makes us feel ultimately out of control. Our lives are changing in ways that we never thought about. We’ve lost the one that kept our heart safe. With that person gone, our life feels as if we’ve lost all ways of maneuvering it. A person never truly feels THAT sense of loss of control until you live through it.
However, we do find ways to maneuver and we find our feet. We are still breathing in and out. Our life, although now totally changed, is still going forward. If you are a Christian, you still have a purpose to fulfill because I believe God uses all things for the good of His purpose. I am confident, my love one, still lives.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 (NIV)
We can’t control other people’s’ reactions, but I can control how I react. For Instance, I can choose to be POSITIVE … JOYFUL … BLESSED! I know sometimes, I don’t always rise to the occasion, but I don’t let myself stay low. I still feel as if my life is somewhat off course, but I am still here until the Lord calls me Home.
There are other things that I’m discovering that I Do like to do. I have discovered that I enjoy kayaking, dancing, sailing, road trips, and writing. These are newer experiences that I’ve done since being single. I’m sure I’ll continue to discover more things that bring me joy.
What makes it even more special is that I’m looking for new things to try! God has given me the gift of a joyful heart and that makes me want to continue stepping forward. Scary things will still make my heart beat quickly. I may never enjoy a roller coaster, but that doesn’t mean I won’t ever ride one again. My life is different and sometimes, yes, I feel like I’ve lost the control of how I wanted my life to be, but I do know the ONE who balances the whole world and I’m secure.
With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation. Romans 10:10 (HCS)
Wherever we go….. Whatever we do…..
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
John 20:21 (NIV)