Monday, 28 October 2013

Thrill Ride

Anyone who knows Mike well knows he's a big kid at heart. He has always loved pulling a good prank. He was quite often the instigator of neighbourhood water fights. He was in there like a dirty shirt when it came to a road hockey game. He's a die-hard trick or treater...which he and the kids are gearing up for in a few days. And he loved going to Playland.

Vancouver's Playland is the oldest amusement park in Canada and was one of our children's favourite places to go when they were younger. Sometimes we all went as a family and sometimes Mike would just take the kids and whatever friends wanted to tag along. Who better to take a bunch of kids to Playland than another kid, just bigger, with a driver’s license and money, who rides all the rides and buys lots of mini donuts and cotton candy.

The park's main attraction and this family’s favourite ride is the 55 year old wooden roller coaster. Simply named the Coaster, this dangerous "thrill ride" isn't considered so because of it's great height and super speed, but because it's "rickety" and without seat belts. The feeling of flying out of your seat at any moment is real and pretty scary, but hasn't happened to anyone...yet.

ACE (American Coaster Enthusiasts), has honoured this famous roller coaster with "classic" and "landmark" status. ACE awards "landmark" status to rides that are historically significant and "classic" to wooden rides that: use lap bars to allow the rider to float above the seat - have no other restraints to allow riders to move side to side in the car - a ride without head rests allowing all riders to view upcoming drops and turns.

All roller coasters have them...drops and turns that is. They have their ups and downs for sure. The unexpected curves and swerves are all part of the ride. It can be exhilarating and terrifying...Life is kind of like that too. It’s a little hair-raising at times and can have you on the edge of your seat and sometimes you just want to scream, "GET ME OFF THIS THING!"

I'm not much of a thrill seeker myself. But when life feels like a wild ride, I find the best thing to do is to stay calm and trust God...not necessarily in that order. Whether it's the twists and turns of ALS or anything else in our lives that seems a little over the top, I tell myself, STAY CALM AND TRUST GOD!

Some wise advice I applied to memory when I was young and I have been trying to apply to my life since then, from Proverbs 3:5,6 goes like this: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make you paths straight." Memorizing and quoting this verse isn't that difficult but putting it into practice can be. It's not something you learn to do in five minutes, it can take a life time to perfect.

My children know this verse well, or so they should. I've written it in birthday cards, I've spoken it on graduation day, I've sent it in Facebook messages. Last week, Madison and I were having a conversation via text message. She was a little anxious as she contemplated big decisions. I texted "Don't worry AND trust God all the time". She replied, "Okay". I smiled and thought we should always respond that way.

Last week Mike and I prayed for:
Friends who had to put their dog down...a young man with a brain tumour...a young friend with drug addiction...a couple whose baby died...friends with cancer...a mother's broken heart...a friend with with Parkinson’s...others with illness, alcoholism, depression, divorce, physical pain and so on.
I'm sure we all feel like we are on a roller coaster ride sometimes. 'Stay calm and trust God' should be written on the lap bar.

"Beyond our understanding, He is teaching us to trust…
His plans are still to prosper, He has not forgotten us.
He is with us in the fire and the flood...
Faithfull forever, perfect in love, He is sovereign over us."
from 'Sovereign Over Us' - Arron Keys

Nathan and Mike on the Coaster in 2001
Madison and Mike, friend Alison and Erin 2003
friend Ali and Madison 2004
friend Jamie and Erin 2004
Erin and cousin Melanie 2007
All of us on the log ride at Playland 2001
All of us with my parents on Splash Mountain 2001

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