Ok, I want off this emotional rollercoaster. I used to love going to the amusement parks and trying all the big coasters and even the smaller ones. Of course, back in my teenage years, the Gemini was the big new coaster at Cedar Point. It was the biggest wooden rollercoaster around. Yeesh, am I that old? Anyway, someone would inevitably get to their turn on the ride but then chicken out and want off. I would wait in line for hours to ride all the rides. But in reality, I only rode a few because we spent most of our time there in the lines. Once we were on though… Woohoo! My friends and I were horse from screaming and sweaty from running back to the end of the line to do it again.
As I’ve gotten older, I don’t find as much enjoyment in those rollercoasters. The slow climb and then the sudden drop doesn’t appeal to me like it used to. I am fonder of the stability of knowing that I am not painfully, slowly, impatiently climbing to a height that isn’t normal to drop from, then plunging downward at a rate of speed that leaves my heart and stomach at the top of the hill. I like knowing that my feet are going to hit solid ground when I get out of bed in the morning. I like the security of knowing the bottom isn’t coming out from under me as I sit around the table with my family for dinner. The uncertain ups and downs of those rides just don’t do anything for me anymore.
However, I feel like I’ve been on a different type of rollercoaster these days. I attended a funeral several weeks ago for the husband of my dear friend of 40 years. He died very unexpectedly after a routine procedure. It was very heartbreaking to think of her situation. Her husband just adored her in every way. She had to say a temporary good-bye to the love of her life. This, quite frankly, hit a little to close to home for me. I have sat by my husband’s hospital bedside after a routine procedure and everything came out fine. Proving that ya just never know what can happen.
After leaving the funeral, we went up to the hospital where my future step niece (just try to keep up with the connection here) had just had her baby. I had just left my friend in tears of sorrow for a life ending to go and mingle those sorrowful tears with that of a new born babies tears. As I stood there holding that brand-new life in my arms, I looked over at my son and realized that the very next day, HE was turning 18 years old. A heartbreaking loss, a heart filling new life, and in between it all, my own son was entering into adulthood… forever! Insert heavy sigh here!
As I enter into a new phase of my own, it gets a little uncertain again. Much like the days of the rollercoaster junky that I used to be. The inchingly long assent to the top of a hill that held an unknown other side. Then the sudden plunge whether you are ready or not. I am clinging to the two years I have left before my precious daughter turns the corner and walks the road of adulthood. I don’t even want to envision that blog post. I imagine you all can expect total hysteria, complete with the back of the hand over the forehead and slowly sinking to the bed in a feeble attempt at my best Scarlet O’Hara. Well I guess that is what all moms do when their kids grow up and they are facing the empty nest years. Somehow, I thought I had a long, long time yet before that happened. At the risk of sounding like an ol’ country ballad, 18 years sure flies by fast and yer left in the dust as the youngins hit the gas.
I can see myself along with my husband a few years from now awaiting our children to come home for Christmas the way our parents do now. Just a few years! But I cling to the bible verse that says “Train up a child in the way he should go, that when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. My prayer is that as my kids still enjoy the rollercoasters that someday they will enjoy the stability that following the Lord and holding friends and loved ones close can bring. They are very family oriented now and they walk with the Lord and I pray that remains as they make their way in life. I pray that they always find comfort in coming home and sitting around the table.