I have always been afraid of heights. As a little girl, I remember one time crying when I was pushed too high in a swing. That and the fact that swinging made me sick. So when I grew older, I could not understand the fascination people had with roller coasters. They wanted them faster, higher, go upside down, you name it. And people thought it was fun.
I decided my senior year to ride a roller coaster. If that many people thought it was fun, then it must be fun, right? I was visiting a college that fall for college view weekend. On Saturday we went to Magic Mountain. Everyone was excited. That’s when I decided I would do it. I would conquer my fear of heights.
I lined up with everyone else for this huge, fast, go upside down, painted in brilliant red roller coaster. As we snaked our way to the front, my stomach began to twist into a knot. The closer we drew, the more my insides coiled. But I was determined to do this. So when it came our time, I belted myself in with everyone else. And off we went.
It was terrible.
I thought I was going to die of shear panic as the roller coaster cranked its way to the top. Then down we went. I closed my eyes and prayed the entire way that I would make it off alive. I didn’t scream, I’m not a screamer. When I’m afraid, my brain shuts off. Maybe that will save me someday if zombies attack. They will think I’m brainless 😛
Anyway, I did survive. I stumbled off the roller coaster, clung to the railing and flung myself onto a bench. It took all my strength not to hurl all over the place. I sat there a good 5 minutes while the other students who were along for the college weekend waited. I finally looked up and gave them a weak smile. I spent the rest of the day watching others have fun on roller coasters and swore I would never ride another one.
Unfortunately, life sometimes feels like a roller coaster. I see the unknown and I panic. I want to get off the ride, but life keeps going, pulling me to the top. Then down I zip, through valleys of darkness and over tops of dreams. Half the time I have my eyes closed, praying I’ll make it through. Other times I feel sick.
But one thing I do know: while careening through life with my lips flapping in the wind, I’m safe. The roller coaster is not going to fall apart. I sometimes think it will. But it won’t. Because God is right next to me. And He oversees the whole thing.
When I remember this, I’m able to relax a little. I open my eyes and watch the sights flash by. And I finally enjoy the ride.