Friday, March 3, 2017

I Only Thought I Wanted To Be in Control

Many, many years ago, Jason talked me into riding the Alpine slide in Tennessee.  If you're not familiar with it, it's basically a concrete track zig-zagging down the side of a mountain.  The rider sits in a little cart (and I mean "little") and controls the descent of the cart with a single lever in the front of the vehicle.  Pushing the lever forward makes the rider go faster while pulling it back applies the breaks.  Steering was not an option.  The cart followed the track. . .well, mostly.

I'll be honest, I was terrified of this thing.  One, I don't like heights.  Two, though I thought I enjoyed being in control, I discovered that I wasn't comfortable with the fact that the success or failure of my descent was entirely dependent on my knowledge and actions.  A roller coaster I could do.  All I had to do was sit back and enjoy the ride.  But this was different.  Sure, the pictures showed young kids doing it, but surely, I was old enough to understand the risks involved in plunging down the mountain in a cart that one sat "on" more than sat "in."  No roll bars.  No seat belts.  Are you kidding me?

But, Jason really wanted to do it, so being the loving wife that I am (no comments please), I gave in.  After all, he assured me that nothing could go wrong.  According to him, there was no possible way I could veer off the track or get hurt in any way.  Since that time, I've learned to interpret such statements in an entirely different way.

Anyway, we started down the mountain at the same time, each of us on our own track.  Jason, being the competitive sort, was determined to win the race.  I, on the other hand, was only interested in getting down the mountain so that I could get off the confounded contraption.  Something tells me I was the slowest person EVER going down that mountain.

Unfortunately, I wasn't slow enough to miss what happened in front of me.  All of a sudden, Jason's cart completely flipped, and my dear husband began sliding down the concrete track without his cart which had resumed its upright position and taken off down the track without him.  The next thing I knew, he rolled onto the grass, jumped up and began chasing his cart down the mountain.  Thinking about it now, I can't help but laugh at what a comical sight it was, but at that time, I was not laughing.  I had just witnessed what was possible on the deathtrap I was currently riding, and in my terror, I gave that brake a rigorous workout.  I'm pretty sure snails were crawling past me, but I didn't care.  It might take me forever to get to the bottom, but I was determined to get there alive and in one piece.  Many minutes later, I finally arrived at the base of the mountain to find my bruised and scraped husband smiling and laughing.  What an idiot! (Love you, baby.)

Despite his injuries, he had the time of his life.  I, on the contrary, hated every minute of it and declared that I would NEVER ride such a thing again.  And, to this day, I haven't. . . and I don't intend to.

The ironic part about all of this is that I am typically a person who wants to be in control.  I want to set my own ways, determine my own path, course and speed.  I like having a schedule and routine.  I enjoy making plans and knowing what to expect from each day.  But on that particular day and in that setting, I wanted to be able to place my life in the hands of someone who actually knew what they were doing.  I wasn't familiar with that flimsy contraption.  I didn't fully understand how it worked or even why it worked.  Not only did I not trust the equipment, but more than that, I didn't trust my ability to control it.  Nope, in that situation, I would have much rather been a passenger rather than a driver (though not in Jason's cart, obviously).

Now, if I could only adopt that same mentality when it comes to living life.  If I could get it through my head that I don't know what I'm doing, maybe it would be easier to trust the One who does.  Too often, I put too much confidence in my ability to control my environment and the circumstances of life, but the truth is, I'm only a passenger on this ride.  So, I can fret and worry about every twist and turn, or I can do like I do when I'm riding a roller coaster and simply sit back and enjoy the ride.  When I put it that way, it seems like a no-brainer, doesn't it?

But I trusted in thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my God. - Psalm 31:14

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