Do you enjoy a roller coaster ride? Yes? No? Here's what I have found - whether you answer "yes" or whether you answer "no", when it comes to roller coasters either answer is given with a lot of emphasis!
People either LOVE or HATE roller coaster rides! I don't know that I've ever met anyone that was neutral on this issue - "Oh, I dunno....I can take it or leave it." - I've NEVER heard that one!
You've heard me talk about the worst part for me -- the "going up" slowly to get ready for that first dramatic drop off. I am afraid of heights and when the roller coaster is making it's climb it is going slow enough for me to notice how high we are getting - I DON'T LIKE THAT PART!
But once we "release" and we began to speed down the track - although my stomach is going nuts - I LOVE IT! Sometimes I'm basically praying out loud, "Please don't break! Please don't break!", I still love the thrill and the excitement of a good roller coaster.
And then, there are those who won't even dare to get on one.
You know where I'm going with this, right? LIFE is a roller coaster ride! There are ups, downs, scary times and exciting times. Times in which we laugh until we almost cry and then there are the times that we just simply cry.
The holiday season is that way for a lot of people. For many with children, it is a WONDERFUL time of the year as the excitement builds and they get to watch the faces of their children on Christmas morning as they see what Santa brought! And, for other parents who are in tough financial shape, this very thought puts a knot in their stomach and they even dread Christmas morning.
For some, this is a wonderful time to share with family and loved ones while there are others that dread this time of the year because a loved one has passed on. I especially ache for those that are experiencing this for the first time and think of how blessed I am that my wife is still with me this holiday season after almost losing her to a heart attack this past August.
Not everyone experiences everything the same - let us all remember that and be aware and sensitive to that and help if and when we can!
This past weekend was a roller coaster of emotions for me. Friday night I got to spend another wonderful evening with some of my high school friends laughing and enjoying each others company. You've heard me talk about this many times before and you've even seen pictures of this posted on this blog. What a wonderful time! Then, on Saturday, we attended the wedding of a young man that was in one of my youth groups when I was a youth minister some years back. To have watched this young man grow up and then see him getting married was a real blessing and one that also brought a lot of joy to us. Two highs two days in a row!
Then, Sunday evening we learned of a young couple that we know that suffered a miscarriage. My wife and I have been through this experience and know the hurt and confusion that goes with this and our hearts ached for them as we cried together for them and also as our own memories came rushing back.
This is life, is it not?
Remember this - when you are laughing and experiencing great joy it is a sign of LIFE! You are alive! And, yes, when your heart is aching and your hurt so badly, this too is a sign of life that you are alive. Sometimes, in the midst of these "down times" we almost wish we weren't alive - but never ever forget that it is an indication that you are, indeed experiencing life - the good and the bad.
And, never forget that, "As long as there is breath there is hope!" Yes, even in the midst of such pain. Yes, even in the darkest of times. There IS hope!
As parents, there have been many times for all of us that we wished (and still do) that we could remove the hurt and pain from the lives of our children --- but we can't. And, really, that's a good thing for our children for they, too, must learn the lessons of life.
It's not always easy for us or them. And, it's sure not easy for us to watch them go through difficult times - but, again - IT IS LIFE and we are on THE RIDE OF LIFE!
One final thought - those of us that have experienced things that we see others experiencing for perhaps, the first time, have an excellent opportunity to share our lives with those that are hurting and/or confused. We are proof that these things ARE able to be survived and that life does, indeed, keep going.
So, friend, buckle that seat belt - or make sure that harness is over your shoulders and clicked in place and then...hang on for this ride that we are on - THE RIDE OF LIFE!
And, all along the way, be sure to...
"Make it an AWESOME day! (Who else is going to do it for you?)"