The Roller Coaster Weekend
I have always loved a good roller coaster! I grew up living near Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, which is not only the second oldest operating amusement park in the US, but also is perpetually boasting the biggest, fastest, tallest or most numerous rides as well. Today they boast 18 world-class roller coasters, and that doesn’t even include the thrill rides, let alone the family rides, the kids rides and the water rides and slides! My parents were super cool about letting us go with friends growing up. Although they teased us about the ‘a-musement’ park being a place of ‘no-thinking’, their one rule for us to go for a full Saturday was that we had to be up and ready to go in time for church, no complaining (and no sleeping in the pews).
I loved the thrill of the ups and downs of emotions that would sweep over me and leave me feeling jello-legged and a bit shaky. I still remember the terror and slight panic that first time we crawled (seriously, could it take longer?) up that hill of the Magnum XL-200! We had stood in line for over 2 hours (no one ever heard of a fast pass at that time), but we were certain the first hyper-coaster ever which also topped 200 feet, from the top of which we could see clear across the massive Lake Erie all the way to Canada, would be like, totally worth it! (flashback to 1989) And boy, when we crested the top of that hill, I still remember how I stomped my feet like crazy on the way down… throwing my hands up in the air, undoubtedly screaming, the drop in my stomach… what a rush!
It’s funny how a day of running non-stop from one ‘thrill ride’ to another could be so exhilarating, and then leave you so worn out!
And for some reason, this is the mental image that popped into my head over and over last weekend, when trying to wrap my head around all that was happening and the ups and downs of it all. I realized many times, that this was life. The ups and downs, the high highs and the low lows, the twists and turns, the dark tunnels and the bright skies seen from the highest point. Sometimes you get different seasons of life that are spread out over long periods of time, and sometimes you are up and down, side to side, tossed around daily.
The latter was our weekend. A friend asked me how it went, and I really didn’t know how to describe it. What I said to her was, “It was a great weekend, but a crazy one as well! If I had sum it up, I would say it was a roller coaster of emotions and a weekend of plans gone awry. But, even though we had a lot of obstacles, the Lord was sweet through all of it and there was no stress, just peace. The wedding was awesome and we saw so many people we loved! The funeral was really hard and sad to see so many people that we love hurting. We are completely drained…”
Just to give you a glimpse:
Thursday: flights to Denver delayed by hours 😔
Rental Car company closed for the night 😔
Friends able to lend a hand (and a ride) 😁
Friday: funeral for family member scheduled for Sunday 😔
Trip to Co Spgs. airport to find flights for funeral unsuccessful😔
Wedding Rehearsal 😁😁😁
Saturday: many phone calls to figure out flights for funeral 😔
Finally an attempt successful 😁
But unable to use our voucher 😔
Beautiful Wedding 😁😁😁
Sunday: flight to Dallas for funeral 😔
In time for funeral 😁😔
Monday: new flight to San Jose retained on tarmac 😔
Flight canceled and missing layover 😔
Rerouted with another airline 😁
Luggage didn’t make it 😔
Luggage delivered to door late at night 😁 😴
That was the weekend in a nutshell. It was, all in all, a wonderful weekend, and had we not seen so many things go wrong we wouldn’t have been able to see the plan that God had to unfold before us. I marvel that the Lord has been able to work in me to the point that with all the craziness of the weekend, it was not overly stressful or frustrating. We just took each thing one step at a time, praying and trusting, and knowing that whatever God had in store for us would be perfectly suited to His plans for us! Had things not gone wrong, we wouldn’t have been able to rejoice in His provision. And He gave us the gift of rejoicing with those who rejoice, and weeping with those who weep. All in one, big, emotional weekend!
Sometimes life is really hard – honestly, a lot of the time life is really hard. Life is real, and not a game, and part of that is dealing with the highs and lows, the twists and the turns. But something that I LOVE about living life, is that it’s not just like an ‘a-musement’ park. We don’t have to go through it with ‘no-thinking’. Because no matter which way our path is going to go, we can have full assurance and confidence in the fact that God is in control, that we can trust Him completely, and that everything will be like,totally worth it someday!
“The LORD is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him.” Psalm 28:7
“Trust in Him at all times, oh people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” Psalm 62:8
“Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.” Isaiah 26:4
“He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.” Psalm 112:7
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD.” Jeremiah 17:7