Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's rite of Passage? His father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone. Once he survives the night, he is a MAN. He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own. The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him. Maybe even some human might do him harm. The wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his stump, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could become a man! Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him. He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm. We, too, are never alone. Even when we don't know it, God is watching over us, sitting on the stump beside us. When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him.

Let's be more aware of all the choices, situations, twists and turns that brought us to this place right here and now. They May Be Miracles.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Another Kind of Ride

June, about 10 or so years ago, I went to Cedar Point for a day with teenagers from Crawford and Marion counties and other adult chaperones/leaders.  Part of our leadership program involved going out on fun excursions occasionally.  I've been to Cedar Point many times in my life, in fact, I worked there a few summers while in college, but this story takes place that June day, about 10 (or so) years ago.

My friend and co-worker, Jodi, and I were standing in line to go on the Power Tower.  Having worked at Cedar Point for a few summers I had been on the Demon Drop many times and never thought it to be a very "scary" approaching the Power Tower I think we both were pretty comfortable that it would just be something fun to do.  We had to decide whether we should be "shot up" really fast, or brought up slowly and dropped suddenly...two different lines.  She had already done both so it was up to me.  Since I figured the "dropped suddenly" option would be much like Demon Drop, I opted for the "shoot us up" really fast line.   Some of the teenagers we had come with were in the opposite line not far behind us. 

Interestingly, the longer we waited and the more I heard the sounds of the ride and watched people go ahead of us, the more anxious I became.  I started wondering if I really wanted to go on this ride.  It was much, much, much, much higher than the Demon Drop (I am really fearful of heights).  It was finally our turn to get on the ride.  We sat down, pulled the bars down over our head, and someone came around to check and make sure it was locked.  We sat there while others got on and as we sat there I started to really FREAK OUT!  I turned to Jodi and said, I don't want to do this anymore.  I want off.  Do you think they'll let me off?  She laughed at me and said it's not that bad...just calm down.  I started trying to wave at the workers to come over.  No one would come over.  I started yelling that I wanted off.  No one heard me.  I yelled the "f" word (kind of like, "get me the 'f' off of here") forgetting that the teenagers were watching us.  I heard them laugh and one of them said, "Dustine just dropped the 'f' bomb!"  (Incidently, if those kids could hear me way over there in the other line, why couldn't or wouldn't a Cedar Point employee hear me or help me??)  Nothing.  I was going to ride this ride.  I was buckled in and it was going to go.  Out of my control.  Nothing I could do to make it stop.  My heart was beating a million miles a minute.  And the ride took off and shot us straight up the tower as fast as it possibly could.

We got to the top of the ride and, I kid you not, in those SECONDS at the top I turned to Jodi, laughing, and said, "This was a BABY ride!!  I can't believe I was so scared!!  What a dumb ride!!" 

I took this experience with me, as you see, even to this day.  Every time I get overwhelmed by something I start to think of "the baby ride".  Life is so much like it!!  We look ahead of us at this monumental, huge, scary looking event (losing a job, moving to a new city, starting a new job, electric out for several days due to weather, the death of a parent, spouse, child, friend) sometimes the event is out of our control...and we think, "I want off of this ride!!  Someone get me the 'f' off of this ride!"  Sometimes we even think, "I never asked to be on this ride!"  And there's no way off.  Our seat belts are buckled and we HAVE to ride.  The wheels are in motion and we are being "shot up" as fast as the ride can possibly take us.  What do we say, what do we do when we're real life? 

Most of the time, don't we look back at that thing, that monumental, huge, scary looking event and say, "Well, that wasn't so bad now, was it?"  Don't get me wrong, some things, like death, are far harder to deal with than other things - but even with the really hard things, like death, when we get to the other side of the pain, we can consider the possibility that we are much stronger than we thought we were.  We may not necessarily say, "that was a baby ride," but we might say, "I hated that ride and I never want to ride it again.  However, I know I will have to at some point, and I know that I can." 

1 comment:

Pat said...

Dustine, you just amaze me. How profound!! I love you more every day. Pat