Friday, March 29, 2013

Loving Life's Roller Coasters

I love roller coasters, I really do. My husband and I have been sneaking away for grown-up amusement park weekends for years now. Old school wooden coasters, sleek steal rails, hanging suspension style we’ve done it all. We love the free-falling thrill of dropping, spinning and spiraling in a well controlled manner.

I have still not learned to appreciate these same feelings in the rest of my life.

Life is not spent at an even keel. There are good moments that take us on highs, low moments can drop us suddenly and flat stretches will sometimes drag on longer then we like.

The exciting moments always seem much too brief, and the spiraling drops sometimes feel endless. 

None of it feels very controlled or safe.

What if there were no drops? No loops, cork-screws or hills. Just a nice smooth ride. Then life wouldn’t be a roller coaster would it? It would be a train ride.

There’s nothing wrong with a train. I think they’re relaxing and the ride can be very scenic. But if the track stays flat forever won’t we tire of the ride? We wouldn’t learn very much from a smooth un-interrupted ride.

Would the blandness of the mundane overshadow our fears of the unknown?

Writing a novel has been its own kind of ride. There was the lengthy process of writing the book and editing it. Much like standing in line on a very busy Saturday in July at Disney World.

Then comes sending your manuscript out to the very first readers to see if you have a story. That’s chugging slowly up the first big hill of the coaster with your heart in your throat. You know what it feels like, you look out over the entire amusement park and think ‘what have I done’ but it’s way too late by that point, you’re already strapped in.

Once you hit the first loop that’s the equivalent of getting your first positive feedback. Next comes querying for agents. Will the terrifying corkscrew of death ever end? Yes, to send you hurtling towards the ground at the speed of sound.

You get the idea, writing a book has a lot of ups and downs.

So, why do I love roller coasters?

Honestly, the first one of the day I don’t. I’m always terrified to get on that first roller coaster every trip. Going up that hill is painful, but I grit my teeth and say a little prayer. Somewhere around the halfway point of the first drop, which coincidentally is when my scream runs of out of air, the fear turns into a thrill.

That’s when I can let go of the bar, put my hands in the air and fly in total freedom.

I just don’t think a flat track would have the same effect.

Without risks, trials and pain, all the lows of life, the highs would not be as sweet. If we had no sorrow to compare our happiness to, how would we indeed know we were happy? Mondays would not be the same if there weren’t a few loop de loops.

No one really enjoys the ups and downs and downs of life. Somewhere in the beginning we were terrified and now we’ve become so jaded we ride life’s amusement park like an elevator instead of a thrill ride.

Stop waiting for the destination and enjoy the ride, because pretty soon it will be time to get off.

Grit your teeth, say a prayer and let go, knowing that with every low another high will pop up.

You can’t fly on a flat track.

Are you going to love the roller coaster?  

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