“I would rather have 30 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.” Shelby from Steel Magnolias.
“Hey guys! Lets ride that water slide,” my husband, Michael, said while he’s pointing to an extremely high platform. He was talking to my sister, my brother-in-law and me. I look up at the line and the stairs that snaked all the way up to the slide. It’s really high. I mean like nosebleed kind of high. And, I don’t like heights. In fact, I really don’t like rides either. I’m the one on the ride that is calling upon Jesus’ name to protect me the entire time. Then, as we are in absolute free fall, I’m the embarrassing one that is screaming in sheer terror scratching and clawing anyone around me. I just can’t help myself.
However, the water park is on the inside of the hotel, and the slide itself is on the outside. So, I can’t really see what I’m getting into. That can be a blessing and a curse.
As we are waiting to go on, and climbing each step one at a time, I start feeling it in my stomach. That butterfly nervous feeling you get right before something terrible happens. I’m happy I’m in my swimsuit because I’m probably going to wet my pants. My sister is talking to me, and I see her lips move, but I can’t pay attention to what she is saying. All I’m thinking is: why am I doing this?? I should know better. I’m like a cat. I don’t like to have to do things that challenge me. In fact, I even hate getting wet. It’s just too much trouble.
It’s finally our turn. We all get to go together…all four of us. We step into the “load in” spot. The water is freezing!! Of course it is. This tube has four spots where our bottoms go, 2 handles on either side, and our feet all go in the middle. I’m looking at Michael and my sister across from me. They are all smiling and laughing. Yeah…I’m not.
I’m ready. It’s happening. It’s now. Wait…not it’s not. We are at the mouth of the slide and we hear that terrible squeaking noise. Because of our weight, we got stuck in the opening of the slide. So, now we face possible death, and have a low self-esteem about it. After the teenage kid has to slam his body into the tube a few times, we become dislodged and we are making our way into the dark.
At first, it’s fun. We are laughing and having a good time. But, that was about the first 5 seconds. Then, there came a huge drop. I mean, it was so big Michael’s eyes about popped out of his head. I couldn’t breath. The air escaped me. My mouth just dangled in the scream position. That led us into what I affectionately call, “The Cone of Death.” It literally was this cone that was black and white checkerboard, and had different colored strobe lights flashing. It was like a psychotic 70’s circus gone terribly wrong.
We went flying up one side of the cone, and then up the other side. It just kept happening over and over again. I actually thought we were in big trouble. I almost bailed and jumped ship. Get me the heck off this thing. But, by the time I could make my decision, we were settled into the bottom of the tube in coming out the other side.
It took me a minute for my legs to work again, and get out of that tube. There is just not a pretty way to do that…especially when your bones have gone like Jell-O. As I got out of the water, I was shaking all over. There were so many emotions in that one ride. There was laughter, anticipation, terror, fear and relief. Even though I will never ride that slide again, I was so proud of myself. I rode the ride. I took the chance. Isn’t that how life can be?
We are presented every day with opportunities. But, for whatever reason we can talk ourselves out of taking advantage of them. We tell ourselves that we aren’t ready, we might get dirty, or we don’t know how it will end. So, instead of getting on the ride, we stand by and let others go ahead waiting until we feel ready. But, that’s not really living, that’s just observing.
Life is going to have hills and twists. We have no way of knowing where they are going to pop up. But, I know one thing for sure, nothing will ever happen if you don’t get in line and grab hold of your turn.
It’s can be nerve wracking and nail biting to decide you want to take your chance… to actually step out into that place that has been calling you for so long. Grabbing hold of your God-given destiny means you have to hold on tight. It means you’re trusting Jesus, and releasing all the preconceived notions of how you thought life should be. But there is no better place to have your faith. He is your safety net and your guide. So, buckle up! It’s going to be an amazing adventure.
Do not tremble; do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago? You are my witnesses—is there any other God? No! There is no other Rock—not one! Isaiah 44:8