I had always been terrified, but when going with another family at the age of 11, I succumbed to the pressure and went on every ride that was on the souvenir cup. And boy, am I glad I did!
But this time, as a mom, was definitely different. You see, instead of enjoying the ride in a purely selfish fashion, I was on with my kids.
As we were zooming through the loop, upside down, I was watching my son's face as it turned white, trying to decide if this was a good idea.
As my daughter screamed at the top of the hill after the endless "click click click" I reached out and patted her hand.
And later, when it was dark because the sun had set (the BEST time to ride coasters!), I would strain my eyes to see what was coming so I could call out to her, "We're about to turn left," or "Small drop ahead!"
Then, near the end of the night, the adults took a turn on a ride that was for 54" and older. You know what that means... it was a SERIOUS ride.
As I sat down, my feet dangled in the seat, unable to reach the floor! The "click, click, click" was four times longer than the other rides we'd been on all day, and my heart beat faster as I reminded myself that this was, indeed, safe! I double checked the seat to be sure I was in tight.
Then down we flew, literally, I felt like I was flying, with my feet swaying like a little kid on a stool at the kitchen counter, savoring an ice cream cone and licking it off his hand as it drips. I screamed with abandoned. I laughed and raised my arms as high as they would go. I never wanted the ride to end!
As we walked down the exit ramp, I was still skipping and jumping and shouting. What a thrill!
And then we headed back to our kids, took a few of them to the bathroom, and life set back in.
For a moment there, though, I tasted freedom. Not from parenting. I love being a mom. But freedom from worries. Stress. Cares. Managing the feelings of other people. I felt completely safe in that seat, I loved the ride, and I trusted where it was going.
I so wish I could say that this was a picture of my spiritual life, but I can't. It's more of a battle between knowing the right thing and doing the right thing, even though I don't feel the right way about it. It's a struggle between flesh and the Spirit. I wish I trusted God with that abandon and let all my worries fly away so I could soar with Him wherever His track led.
That's probably impossible right now. Because there ARE worries and cares. Just when we cast them on Him, we get hit with another. And I cannot live in a selfish bubble, thinking only about the fun I'm having on my track with God. I have children and friends and family and my church family, and we are to hold each other up.
But... one day. Oh... one day! I truly believe that the freedom I felt, the joy and complete abandon I tasted, will be a reality! When we can live each day in perfection! Not fighting sin! Not battling with self. Not reacting to the sins of others! Can you taste it? Can you see it?
One day, we will go HOME. And then, we'll be starting the RIDE that will last for eternity.