by Jennifer Duncan
I’m not much of a risk-taker. I like the feeling of safety in what is familiar. I don’t need lots of change and variety in my routines. I’m okay with same-ness. That’s why it was such a surprise when I found myself standing in line one summer day, with my granddaughter Grace, getting ready to board the newest, highest, fastest, most-thrilling roller coaster, newly added at Silver Dollar City! This thing actually takes the rider upside down! Why would I agree to this…indeed, why did I VOLUNTEER for this?!
It happened this way. Grace loves roller coasters. She had been excited and looking forward to this ride all day. But when we finally found ourselves in front of the entrance to the ride, no one would go on it with her! One by one, Granddad, her sister and both her cousins said, “Nope…not me! I’m not going on that thing!”
Grace, unlike her Mimi (and apparently, everyone else in the party), IS an adventurer. She is “UP” for about anything, and she was ready to go. She would have happily gone by herself, but I looked at that long line of strangers, and couldn’t let her go solo. So, I ended up, not only standing in line with her, but actually going on that ride.
I’d like to say, “It was exhilarating…not nearly as scary as I’d imagined.” I’d like to say, “I’m glad I went; it was really great.” But I can’t. It was awful. I closed my eyes from the first horrific drop, through the upside down rocking and rolling, through the jerking twists, to the end…the blessed, welcome END. I endured…and that’s the most positive thing I can say about it. But then, once I boarded the thing, what was the alternative?!
I received many incredulous kudos from my granddaughters and my husband…and my heroics were told far and wide. It was almost enough to calm my shaking, but I had to take it easy for awhile, and return to my more typical pattern of watching while others are brave! Grace just wanted to assure me that she would have gone by herself, and believe me, next time, she will! Some adventures, you only have to have once.
So, what were the “take aways” from this experience? You know, there are always “take aways.” I learned these things:
- Some adventures are worth the risk, if only for what we learn from the experience.
- There is gratification in facing a challenge, even if it’s difficult.
- Life, like a roller coaster, is full of some scary twists and turns, but a joyous end is always coming.
- Exciting adventures are a whole lot more fun when experienced with someone you love.
Thanks, Grace, for taking me with you on an unforgettable ride…WAY out of my comfort zone!
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
Jennifer is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is mom to two grown (twin) sons, two wonderful daughters-in-law and four granddaughters. Her late husband, John, pastored two churches in Barry County, Missouri, and one in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Jennifer serves in teaching, music and lay counseling through her church, Arnhart Baptist Church, Purdy, Missouri. She also enjoys leading retreats and Bible studies for women.