Monday, July 19, 2010

The Devil's Drop

After promising our children that we would spend the day at a water park, my husband and I got up early and got everything together, only to find out upon calling that the water park we had planned to go to was no longer open. Not exactly excited at the thought of driving the hour and a half necessary to reach the one in Greensboro, but even more unwilling to listen to the kids complain the rest of the day, we decided to bite the bullet and face the long drive. Since everything was already prepared, and the kids were very excited from the moment we woke them up with news of the trip, we were on the road within thirty minutes.

When we arrived, we took one quick tour to identify the coolest attractions, and Morgan immediately had her heart set on a new 40-foot slide, completely vertical, called “The Devil’s Drop.” Just looking at it made me dizzy, and I was positive she would turn around the moment she got up to the top. Ha! I was in for a good surprise…Morgan went up, dad following right behind; she reached the top and stood up there like a star ready to receive a standing ovation. She grinned and lay down, and once the bar was lifted, flying down she went. I expected to see her upset by the time reached the bottom, but once again my assumption was wrong. When her little body finally came to a stop, she sat up and looked radiant. Dad, on the other hand, came down like a bullet shot by a beginner, and banged elbows and knees he didn’t even know he had; never mind the fact that his neck and back were also sore by the time he finally stopped at the bottom.

When we left the slide, I asked her what she thought of it and if she was scared. Her answer made me smile: “Well, I was a little bit scared when I first lay down, but when I began to speed, I just closed my eyes and pretended I was flying.” She went on to tell me how wonderful it felt to just be taken away, and how she just surrendered to the water and the speed with no care in the world. Dad, instead, admitted that when he took one look he could just imagine the pile his bones would make at the bottom of the drop, if something went wrong, and went down fearing the worst. Because of it, his body remained stiff, and the hard, unforgiving slide did the rest.

Much of what we experience is strongly related to the way we approach it. When fear gets in the way, we instinctually brace for the worst, and our ‘stiffness’ brings us more damage than we would encounter if we allowed ourselves to ride the wave and let it carry us to destination. Faith is a great remedy against fear – as long as we ‘know’ we are going to be alright, most likely we will be, for most of the damage along the ride is rarely caused by external sources, but rather by our own apprehension and hesitation.

In this case, Morgan knew the ride was safe, even if at first look it was easy to think otherwise; dad, instead, invested too much energy into worrying about the ‘ifs’ and the ‘maybes’ that COULD have occurred, even if the chance they would was extremely low. Worry, someone said, is interest paid on a loan you might never receive, but sometimes it is even worse: Afraid to get hurt, we might forfeit the chance to live life at its fullest.