I get closer to the front of the line. The shaking gets less containable. Is it obvious?
“Andy, are you alright?” comes the blurry question from somewhere in the background, “you’re being very quiet. Are you scared?”
I’m not sure I have the energy to reply. I’m concentrating. I’m thinking. I need to get myself through this. And they’re not the kinds of questions that will help.
Come on. It’s just a roller coaster. Millions of people ride these things every year. It’s just a ride. In five minutes it’ll be over. I’m not going to die. I’m not going to be hurt. This time tomorrow it’ll all be nothing but a distant memory.
“This too shall pass”
I’m sure you’ve heard it said that ‘life is like a roller coaster’.
Well it’s not.
I mean, if only it really was. Just imagine how nice it would be.
You would be able to see exactly where you were about to go, how long it is going to take, the speed at which you would need to travel each bit, who you were going to live it with. You can brace yourself, seeing the ups and downs, loop the loops and big scary drops before you have to experience them.
And you can be reassured that, barring some kind of electrical or mechanical fault with the earth you are pretty well guaranteed to stay on track the whole way. And you wind yourself back to the start in a nice controlled, complete, and resolved manner at the end.
When you think about it the metaphor of life being like a roller coaster doesn’t make much sense at all.
I reckon life is more like the process of building a roller coaster.
Each of us belongs to this massive amusement park called Space and Time. We all have a plot of land within it and the opportunity to design and build whatever we want on our bit of ground.
As we start to build our roller coasters we realise that there is a lot more involved than we initially thought, especially if we want to build bigger and more adventurous rides. So we ask other people for ideas. We help out on their rides and they help out on ours.
We draw up plans and set targets but it’s not always possible to stick to them.
Sometimes the weather changes, meaning that we have to put construction on hold. Sometimes one part takes a little longer than we expect. Sometimes we are off helping someone else. Sometimes we get injured. Sometimes we get tired. Some days we just don’t feel like doing anything.
But then at other times we make huge progress and our ride changes greatly within a short period. We have other people working with us on our ride, bringing us their expertise, support, and creative experience.
There are rides all throughout Space and Time. Every single one of them is different, and they stretch out far beyond what the eye can see.
There are big ones, small ones, fast ones, slow ones, crooked ones, creaky ones, strong ones, weak ones, humble ones, arrogant ones,. There are ones that stand out and tower above the others, and there are ones that look less impressive but could really pack a punch.
They don’t really get ridden much. Everyone’s too busy for that.
But they all have an enduring impact. Every ride continues to inspire and influence anyone building on a nearby plot of land.