Life Lessons: Passing Out On a Roller Coaster
When I was a little girl, conquering the loop-the- loop roller coaster was a personal goal.
I was enchanted, yet terrified. I was determined. (Note: until just now, I was certain the term was loopdeeloop. Just pointing that out. Sort of like how Colin was convinced for years that the long stringy pasta that is so common with meatballs was, in fact, sghabetti.)
On my 10th birthday, my dad took me to our local amusement park, Great America, and we rode The Demon. Not just one loop…two. And a corkscrew. I killed that coaster. (I do not remember whether or not I liked it, only that I was immensely proud of conquering my fear of it.)
Years later, I went with my college boyfriend to Great America and we stood in line for ages to ride a brand new coaster called Top Gun. It was a coaster that was attached from the top of the car, rather than the bottom, so your feet sort of just dangled underneath and you, basically, fly all over the place. Like cat toys on a string, legs flailing as the coaster spins and turns.
The first time I rode Top Gun was thrilling. We were in the front car, as such, there was nothing between us and the big blue sky. It really did feel like I was flying, head first, falling, turning, soaring. It was exhilirating.
So much so, that we decided to give it another go later in the day. By now, the sun had set. We ended up on a car in the middel of the ride, and as we began the same routine of flips and turns and rolls, I began to feel disoriented. It was so hard to see in the dark which was up and which was down. There were lights everywhere, but I couldn’t tell what was what and I fainted, coming to as the ride pulled into the loading bay with a lurch. It was not exhilirating.
Despite visiting the park regularly now with my own hooligans, I haven’t ridden Top Gun since.
Looking back, I find it fascinating that when I was able to see where I was going, that crazy ride didn’t frighten me a bit. But in the dark, when I lost perspective and any sense of the ground, my brain just gave up and shut down. In seconds.
Light deprivation is no small thing.
Extended time without light leads to loss of vision, even hallucinations. Even subtle deprivation of light – short days in winter, for instance – can cause depression and anxiety. Brain damage, even.
Such a simple need, light. It is our source of life, of growth, of sanity. It guides, clarifies, directs and illuminates.
Without the Light, it is so easy to lose our way.
We just finished remodeling our kitchen. After several months of topsy-turvy living, we are finally settling into what feels very much like a new home.
A few days after we finished, I woke up in the night and tried to figure out where I was. I thought I had fallen asleep in the family room, in the La-Z-Boy, and was trying to make my way through the new kitchen to our bedroom.
But nothing was familiar – not a thing. I had my contacts off, it was dark, and I didn’t want to wake the boys by turning on a light. I felt along the walls, but I had no idea where I was. Usually, I can walk through our house in the pitch dark and not bump into anything, I know my way so well, but this time…I was lost.
I was lost, in my own home. I started to get very scared and panicky. I tried to find enough light from the windows to orient myself, but there wasn’t enough moon for even that.
Right there in my own home, I was lost.
But only because it was dark.
(End of story – I was sleepwalking, I was actually in my own bedroom the entire time.)
What do we do when there is no light to shine our way?
Find the light. Just like I was trying to find the windows in my own house so I could tell where I was — find your Light.
When I have lost my way in life, I find light in scripture. Over the Christmas break I would wake up late every day and sit in bed watching a 6 part video Bible study. It was such a gift to sit there in my pj’s with my coffee and have that quiet time with God, that I’ve taken up the habit on Wednesday nights when Gabe goes to his men’s group.
Sometimes you have to let your eyes adjust. Walk outside in the middle of the night during a full moon– it may seem dark at first, but after a bit, your eyes adjust and it is nearly bright as day. A little bit of perspective can bring the light into view…
Back on course, finding my fixed point of direction, the Lights are on and I’m heading His way.
Have you ever lost your view of the Light? How have you gotten yourself back on course?
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