On Friday, I enjoyed lunch with a dear friend. Talking with her I worked through some tangles in my thinking.
My sister and I have been discussing how we cringe when people wish us blessings because blessings usually come wrapped in trials, also known as lessons.
I finally admitted to my friend that there was a time when I was extremely jealous of her. She enjoyed exploring, stopping when some place caught her fancy, a flexible schedule. It drove me crazy. I had to admit to myself that my PTSD made such things impossible. I needed my routine.
Chatting with her, I told her about my first ride on a roller coaster, with my sister. We started down the first drop. I screamed, put my face in my sister’s lap, and kept it there. I stayed away from roller coasters. I later came to understand that part of the terror for me is that my depth perception is just a little off. Nothing serious, but I’m a little slow figuring out how far away something is. I couldn’t adjust fast enough on the roller coaster. For me, the ground wasn’t simply rushing up, it was in my face.
The summer after I graduated high school, my parents, my younger brother, and I went to California to visit Uncle Fred and Auntie Vicky. We spent one day at Disneyland. My younger brother and I were sent off to have fun. YB and I decided we’d start with the most popular rides and work our way through. We had until 5 PM. We started with Space Mountain. It was awesome. We worked through every ride. By the end of our time, we were left with rides like the submarine ride, Peter Pan, and Mr. Toad’s wild ride. It was fun. The wonders of the roller coaster ensnared my senses, speed, sights, and sounds. I discovered I loved roller coasters as long as I don’t see the ground.
Life is a roller coaster. I’ve spent far too much time focused on the ground, the stuff I can’t change, too often losing sight of the wonders. In the Bible, Peter briefly walked on water when Jesus called to him. He began to sink when he looked around and focused on the storm, what he couldn’t change, and lost sight of the wonder, Jesus.
With the passing of my brother-in-law’s dog and my aunt, my sister and I have been talking about death, helping each other process the losses. I always thought I wanted to die in my sleep. Now, I want to die doing something I love, living my life to the fullest, enjoying the sunshine and the storms.
This is going to require me to stop keeping my head down, avoiding confrontation, ditching the uncomfortable. Living life means meeting the storms head-on as well as reveling in the sunshine.