Roller Coasters and Learning Trust


You know that feeling on a roller coaster when you’re balanced right at the peak of the first hill? You know, when you’ve spent the last whole minute ticking slowly upward, enjoying the view and the summer breeze and then you have exactly one second where you are suspended in the air as you see the descent dropping straight below you? You know how even when you anticipate what’s coming, the breath-sucking, stomach-dropping, heart-thrilling drop that will pry a scream out of your throat and even though this is the reason you bought a ticket and waited in line in the first place and even though you know there is nothing more delightful than this adrenaline rush, there is still a tiny part of you that would give so much for a few more seconds of peace balanced right at the top of the world?

I’m feel like I’m balanced right there in my life right now. The drop is coming and I am already bracing myself in excited anticipation and I wouldn’t change it for the world, but there’s a part of me that would give so much for just a few more days, weeks, months with life exactly the way it is right now.

Can I just say that I hate change? Sometimes I put on this act like I have no feelings and nothing bothers me, but the truth is I’m an overly sentimental person. I feel deeply. I hold on things too tightly. I love jealousy. I am probably loyal to a fault.  Sometimes I get a sick feeling in my stomach when I have to say goodbye.

I realize that change is necessary, good, growing. It literally makes life possible. It makes infants into toddlers into teenagers into men and women. Its good, and I know its good, and I welcome it. Its just that sometimes I welcome it kicking and screaming.

I watched my baby sister wear a funny hat and walk across a stage last night, and I’ve got to think that many of those graduating students have the same sort of top-of-the-roller-coaster feeling as me. In a few short months things are about to start rolling forward faster than ever for these new graduates. So much good lies ahead, but the unknown can be terrifying, even with your safety belt correctly fastened and all hands inside the car while the coaster is in motion. For some people, the fear is a new path, a new school, a new job, new friends, new life circumstances. All good and wonderful things, but the hard part is that the new always has to replace something. For me the fear is that amidst all the wonderful newness, I will lose people that I love.

Over the past year and even still now I’m learning that love sometimes means letting go. Or cheering from a distance. Or losing sight completely and trusting the sustaining, far reaching hand of God. Its not that I don’t trust Him with the ones I love, because I do, its just that I want them near me. But if that’s not what’s best for them, that’s not love. Allowing, accepting, and encouraging change is sometimes the best, even though not the easiest, form of love.

Corrie Ten Boom is quoted as saying “Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.” I understand the concept, and its the way I want to live, but that’s not who I am yet. I believe that regret serves no real purpose and forward is the only direction worth moving, but I haven’t quite broken the habit of occasionally looking over my shoulder. I’m still the girl who grabs onto the roller coaster so tightly at the top of the first hill that she gets yellow and green bruises (that’s a true story from 6th grade, ask me about it sometime) but who is also learning to shout with delight on the way down.

I’m learning to trust God through it all. While I learn to hold my hands open through the changes of life, His are closed tightly around me, never letting go. So here’s to the drop, to the thrill, to the rushing winds of change coming to sweep us forward into each exciting new twist in the track. Take a deep breath, friends, cuz ready or not, here we go.



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