Fasten Your Seatbelts and Hold on Tight

When I was about six years old, my family went to Hershey Park in Hershey, PA. We enjoyed a wonderful vacation there and toured the chocolate factory. Perhaps that was the beginning of the end for me and my chocolate addiction! J The park had just opened a new ride that year – the first of its kind on the East Coast – the Sooperdooperlooper! My sister had ridden roller coasters with my dad before, but I had never had the experience. The line was quite long, as you can imagine, but I didn’t care. I wanted to ride that coaster!! And so we waited … and waited, snaking ever so slowly through the steel maze, then finally up the steps to the platform where we could board the car. At last we were there! Just as we were getting into our seats, I got scared and wanted to go back. You can imagine my father’s and sister’s exasperation that, after all that time waiting, I got cold feet. But we were already in our seats – there was no turning back, our harnesses were fastened and we just had to hold on tight. I screamed. I cried. I kicked. And I squeezed my dad’s hand into numbness. I can only imagine what the other riders were thinking about this screaming, bratty child who would not shut up! In fact, my mom said she could hear the screaming from the bench where she was waiting for us. (Fortunately, she didn’t realize it was me). At the end of our 1 minute, 45 second enterprise, as we were exiting the platform, I grabbed my dad’s hand, looked expectantly up into his face, and gleefully shouted, “Daddy, let’s do that again!”

Sometimes when I think about my journey and call to ministry, I am reminded of my adventure at Hershey Park that day. There are times when I have been kicking, screaming, and woefully annoying others along for the ride. There have been times when I have cried out to God, desperately wanting to turn back. Then suddenly my screams and tears of fear turn into laughter and joy. There is no turning back, and honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Until next time, peace …

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