Life on a Roller Coaster (Day 1, from Cleansing Thoughts)

    IT WAS NEARING THE END of the summer. The weather was much cooler, so I decided to take my grandchildren to a nearby amusement park for the day. It was our last big bash before the park would be closing for the year, and I enjoyed the day just being a grandma---in other words, spoiling them beyond measure and then taking them home to Mom and Dad to deal with! They had to try all the usual foods: cotton candy, snow cones, chocolate bananas on a stick, caramel apples, hotdogs, and sodas. Then there were the rides, everything from the pony ride to the roller coaster. All in all it was a good day for everyone.

    I am what you might call a people watcher and one place, in particular, caught my attention. I saved this for last, not so much for the kids' sake but for my own---the roller coaster. This beast of twisted metal loomed before me like a giant monster ready to devour any joy I had received from the day. But not wanting to show my fear to my grandchildren, we took our place reluctantly inline. As we inched our way forward, I could not help but notice the faces of those waiting to climb into the car that would send them into the jaws of this unrelenting beast. Every face was filled with an expression of great anticipation. Some were smiling, and their eyes were lit up like the night sky on the Fourth Of July, oohing and awing at every twist and turn as they watched this monster devouring those who had gone before. Then there were those like myself, who were smiling out of clenched teeth, but the terror in their eyes gave them away as they stood there in controlled fear, dreading the time when their turn came to relinquish their life into its jaws. As I stood there, I only hoped my grandchildren thought my sweaty palms were from the sun. Not wanting them to be able to read the fear in my eyes, I turned my attention to those riding the beast. As the ride continued, their hands remained raised to victory, as if a sign to the world they had conquered this mighty beast. I could not help but notice others with their arms stretched out in front of them, grasping the bar to the car as if their life depended on it. Some even buried their faces into the shoulder of the one sitting next to them, afraid to even look at what awaited them at the next turn. Their screams echoed in my ears. Then the thing I greatly feared was non upon me. It was our turn to climb aboard.


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