The anticipation of the free-fall was more than I could bear.
I never was a huge fan of roller coasters. As a child I was deathly afraid. My friends would stand in line for hours, strap in for two and a half minutes, then chase each other to the end of the line wobbling back and forth like a candidate for an early morning DUI and then wait again. My first experience on a roller coaster was not of my own free will. I was tricked! It was an indoor roller coaster at Dollywood and I had no idea that near the end of the ride the bottom would drop out and we would be thrust into a death defying descent into a bottomless pit (so it seemed). You know what I did, I unstrapped myself and began a mad dash chasing my friends to the end of the line just to wait again. From that point forward, anytime I heard the “rachety-rachety-rachety” of the train climbing to the sky, my stomach tied itself in knots as it awaited the pending dive into breathlessness. I hated being out of control. But the thrill of the hill was worth the fear of not knowing.
And now I am riding another roller coaster. One without wheels and track. One that is somewhat self-imposed by my decision to live life to the fullest. When we lean into our dreams, the price is steep. Maybe more steep than the hill at Dollywood. Most dreams cost far more than dollars and cents. We are charged security, stability, and peace. We trade the tangible for the elusive and control for occasional chaos. We step into an unknown destiny and a fragile future. When we chase after a new dream, the anticipation of the climb ties our stomach in knots. At some point along the journey we realize that there is no turning back and we brace ourselves for what lies just over the top of the next hill.
I watched a short sketch at church yesterday about Martin Luther King, Jr. As he was awakened from a doze, two characters were conversing with him. One was trying to convince that a black man should not try to attend college, while the other was giving him glimpses of the future that would await him if he took the road less travelled. The latter told him stories of a man who would face jail time, the bombing of his home and an eventual bullet in his right cheek that would take his life at the age of 39. The decision was his... would he take the path leading to security and “peace” for himself or would he dive headlong into a ride laden with free-falls that would bring the peace of a nation. Can you imagine the anticipation of waking each day to threats on your life. Can you imagine a daily stare contest into the bloody eyes of hatred. Of course, Dr. King could not have known exactly what lie ahead when he made that decision to step through the doors of higher education, but I think we can safely assume that he would have said “yes” to his destiny.
What about me? What about you? We all have a seed planted deeply in our hearts. It requires nurture and resources. Whether it will thrive is determined by our daily decision to give it room to flourish.
What will it take for you to strap in? Seriously, what would it take? Let’s talk about it. I’ll be waiting for your comments.