Tuesday, June 9, 2009

E Ticket!

I ran into my cousin the other day at a wedding. This is a cousin I haven’t seen in years, but she’s a passionate person and a great talker, and we suddenly plunged into a very fascinating conversation about, well...life.

She said, “When I got married, I thought it would be like this magical escalator ride to the celestial kingdom.”

And I countered, “But when you felt the track nudging toward the top, it turns out it was just a brief pause before a terrifying plunge, and the next thing you knew you were being hurled downward at break-neck speeds, then whipped around a corner..."

“Exactly,” she said. “I was counting on that escalator ride. I didn’t sign up for a roller-coaster.”

“Yes you did,” I practically interrupted. “We all did. You’ve just forgotten.” She gave me a puzzled look, so I continued, “We knew before we came here it was going to be a wild ride...and we WANTED the e-ticket. We shouted for joy!”
“Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?...When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?(Job 38:4,7, italics added)
That image of the roller-coaster stayed with me. Can you imagine the shouts of joy if you told your kids you were taking them to Disneyland right now? And if you told them Space Mountain might be a bit scary because it whips you around in the dark, do you think they’d say, “Okay, then, never mind. Let’s just stay here and do crossword puzzles?” No way! They want the whole adventure.

Or you could try and protect them from being frightened by the abominable snowman on the Matterhorn and tell them, “Okay, we’ll go to Disneyland, but I don’t want anybody to get sick or hurt or scared, so you’re only allowed to ride Small World.” Can you imagine how ANNOYING that would be? Even once?

But instead, our heavenly parents bought us an all-ride pass...complete with the lovely parts, the sweet parts, the gentle parts...but also the boring parts, the annoying parts, and, yes, the scary parts. Because they LOVE us.

Our family’s been on one hell of a roller-coaster ride this year. Literally. Sometimes it felt like we were riding straight through hell! And yet, I don’t think I’d trade all the frustrating, heartbreaking and downright terrifying experiences of the past few months if it meant I had to give up — or even dilute — that sublime reunion we had with our son a few weeks ago.

To quote the tagline of a movie my husband produced a few years ago, “Life is worth the scary parts.”

So tell me, have you found your life to be an escalator ride, a long, tiring stair climb, a stationary bicycle, or a roller-coaster? And, if given the chance, would you trade your e-ticket for a smoother ride?

16 comments:

Luisa Perkins said...

Life *is* worth the scary parts, and it is definitely a roller coaster! I love this analogy.

breckster said...

I was the kid begging someone to ride the "boring" rides with me, because I was talked into taking the roller coaster first and scared witless. Luckily, I've always been able to find someone willing to slow things down to keep me company, or let me cut off their circulation while I screamed and cried on those rides that looked innocent but turned out to be death defying.

Strangely, I enjoy waterslides... there is no false sense of security, you know its all down hill from where you are, and it makes the long stair climb worth it.

Jenny P. said...

Last time I went to Disneyland I got sick on "It's a Small World". I've chosen not to think to long and hard about how that's a reflection of my life.

Sandy M. said...

I have a dream (I know - it's been used before, but very successfully, so...).. I have a dream - the only one I have semi-regularly, where I am given/I inherit a house, usually from my wonderful grandmother. It's always near the ocean, and it's always very simple, a little shabby and not fancy or particularly large, until I begin to explore. And the thing I love about the house is that it gets bigger and bigger, and more and more surprising and complicated, with all sorts of rooms and areas that open to me the longer I am there. Rooms change around a lot on their own too. And all sorts of un-invited people appear and hang out there - some I know and some that I don't. I usually have very definite plans for this house at first, but it doesn't usually accede to my ideas...

That's a bit more how life feels to me. I always love being near the ocean, so I feel happy there. In the dream I feel free to go where I want to/do whatever I want to, because it's my house. I have a strong sense of ownership, but understand that I need to work around the other people there too, as well as the house itself.

If I was to relate LIFE to a roller coaster ride or other, I would have to say that it feels much more like a mountain hike. Up one mountain, down a little, up again, along a ridge, etc. It's me that's powering the movement and the direction (though not the topography), and me that's puffing away and doing badly in some areas; stopping occasionally to rest, but knowing not to stop for too long, in case I seize up....

I love hiking (when I was younger, in actual reality; now, in theory at least :) I love the beauty of the journey, and enjoy the feeling of my muscles labouring to gain each rise toward the finish.

And it was always most definitely worth the 'too-stiff-to-get-out-of-bed-the-next-morning' aches and pains!

Brillig said...

I thrive on drama. Bring it on. I'm all about the scary rides.

Brian, though? Not so much. Before my husband married me, his life was so quiet, simple, and ordinary. Then the poor man had to go and marry me, and his life is now full of, well, the insanity that is me! Poor man.

I like to think I've been good for him, though. He's definitely been good for me, even if we do constantly send each other on terrifying turns and drops.

Kimberly said...

I'm blatantly stealing this analogy and using it in a sacrament talk something REAL soon. So brilliant.

Lately I've been feeling like I'm on the tilt-a-whirl, constantly in movement but not going anywhere. I want back on the coaster . . .

Beth said...

Kim linked to this post and I really enjoyed reading! Very well put.

Mrs4444 said...

Well, I can't say that I've ridden The Tower of Terror, but I have been on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and have enjoyed it immensely. Love your attitude :)

Tammy Lorna said...

My life feels like a treadmill set at a high speed, and a 45 degree incline.

Remember that kids book "Stop the world I want to get off"?

:)

I'm hoping one day I'll learn how to enjoy the ride... right now, I'm too busy trying to figure out where the stop button is! :)

xo Tammy

Barbaloot said...

What a great analogy! Good thing I love roller coasters---now if I could only find someone to sit next to me on the ride... :)

LisAway said...

Great analogy. It's so true. Especially the part about how we DID sign up for a roller coaster. I love having that perspective. Just knowing that we knew can sometimes help (a little). I LOVE roller coasters dearly. The falls are the best part. And the loops and corkscrews etc. They're the most meaningful part of the ride, and make it worth getting on. The adventures and trials in our lives are the defining moments, and the things that shape who we are. Even if they're not as fun as being on an actual roller coaster.

Melanie J said...

I was just talking to someone the other day who said she couldn't go on roller coasters any more. She used to love them and go on them all the time but now they make her queasy.

What does that mean?

Heather of the EO said...

Yes.

(ha ha, that was a joke...like I'm saying ALL OF THE ABOVE)

:)

What's kind of funny is that I have found my life to mostly be a stationary bike. Even though I have been climbing uphill a lot, I just compare it to so many other things, things that are worse and then I feel like it hasn't been too bad. Even though there's been some really bad stuff. Sheesh, I just realized I don't know the answer to the question. I don't know what I really think...

Dedee said...

Love the analogy here.

Would I trade it? I don't know. Some days, yes. But not really. Because what would I have to give up in order to have a smooth "It's a Small World" life?

I'd probably have to give up life and I love it way too much for that.

Thanks for reminding me of that.

L.T. Elliot said...

I'm all in, baby. Roller coaster it might be but I'd never appreciate those daring highs and breaks in the clouds if I hadn't descended into the gut-dropping lows and dark days. Thank you for this beautiful reminder. I think I rather love my e-ticket.

InkMom said...

Two ups, then one down. Repeat ad infinitum.