on the roller coaster

Photo credit: n-heath-_px33d4yu1y-unsplash

I have always loved roller coasters – the wind-in-your-hair speed, the crazy-high ascents that plummet headlong into out-of-your-seat descents, the crushing-your-neighbor curves, the hands raised high, and the laughter screams – oh, the screams. I have loved them backward, upside down, twisting, and splash-landing into water. I have especially loved riding the roller coasters with a beloved family member at my side.

But things have changed.

We are on a roller coaster of
circumstances, life habits and emotions.

And I do not like it. I have worked hard to adjust and adapt. I have helped my family create new places to study and work and purchase what is needed. I have controlled my anxiety and fear and helped others work through theirs. We have figured out how to stay away from people physically and still stay connected virtually. We keep our personal space, wear our masks and wash our hands.

Every day the ride changes.

The statistics of cases and deaths keep rising and invading one location after another. The estimates for business and school re-openings are months away with nothing certain yet. Hope and discouragement regularly alternate their visits; sometimes they show up simultaneously and sometimes they hide in a crowd of unnamed emotions. As soon as we get one challenge figured out and come up with a satisfactory alternative, something else changes or gets taken away. The economic impact is adding a spinning-saucer sensation to this roller coaster and that stomach-churning effect is one I have never enjoyed.

I am remembering today that roller coaster rides are usually very short-lived, a few breathtaking minutes at the most. This crazy ride we are on is going to last much longer. The highs and lows and the twists and turns go on and on and on. I have had enough already. I want to get off, but I can’t. 

I will need resilience.

An extended journey requires a different mindset and different preparation than a ride that lasts only a few minutes. This crisis demands long-term physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual care. I cannot simply hold my breath for the few brief moments of a short thrill ride. I will need deep, long, oxygen-filling breaths to give me endurance for the distance. Attitudes and actions must be adjusted, and then re-adjusted again, for a long haul. It helps to remember Who travels with me.

Thankfully, although I cannot control my situation, I can control much of my reaction to the circumstances. In this case, simply recognizing the kind of ride I am on, gives me new perspective and helps me choose a better response.

How are you getting through this crazy crisis ride?

8 thoughts on “on the roller coaster

  1. Thanks for this helpful perspective Terry. I think now that we are past the initial sense of crisis and the reality that this is not going to be fast has set in, I especially resonate with the idea of hope and discouragement alternating their visits–or sometimes visiting at the same time. The continual readjusting is hard, especially for those of us who don’t love ambiguity. It’s a good time to choose dependence and vulnerability and remember Who on the ride with us as well as be willing to open up to others about how we are doing. Thanks friend!

    • Oh, Donna, I definitely don’t love ambiguity or uncertainty. And, yes, dependence and vulnerability are healthy companions on this ride. Thanks for reading. Means a lot to me.

  2. Amen to this pst. We’ve been talking about the days we just melt down. It occurred to me that our parlance is the definition of lament i.e., an expression of great emotion that acknowledges situations are out of control and beyond our ability to make sense. No wonder the Apostle Paul described the Spirit’s intercession as groaning!

    • Yes. Our team and staff members have been talking a lot about lament. It does seem the description of what we are experiencing these days. Thanks for adding that word to the conversation. Always appreciate you.

  3. I love roller coasters as well but this one…not so much!!! Making it day by day!

    Judy Kirkpatrick AIA Global Leadership 513-235-5297

    >

  4. No, it’s definitely not same-old, same-old. Thanks for the sweet encouragement, friend, as I process out loud. You know I love reading your heart too. Someday, we will get to process face-2-face again. Hugs to you.

  5. I LOVE your description of the roller coasters you enjoy–I could actually envision them. But this ride we’re on now–you’re right, it’s not sustainable with our old roller coaster mindset. Short-lived and breathtaking to uncontrollable and crazy. It’s good to revise my perspective. I need to work on that more. This is not my same-old, same-old. Thanks for these insights, Ter.

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