For years our family would purchase a season pass at Canada’s Wonderland, a major theme park about an hour from where we lived. Four or five times a year we would make a day of it, enjoying the drive, a picnic lunch, the shows and the rides.
Well, mostly it was Alex and me who enjoyed the rides while Kathy and Megan people-watched. There wasn’t a ride us guys wouldn’t go on, but for the ladies, it was often a challenge to go on anything beyond the spinning tea cups.
But I have to say, Kathy was a good sport, often going on rides she’d rather not.
One afternoon we were standing in line for the Drop Zone (a 230 ft tower that you gradually are lifted to, only to be dropped, free-falling to the ground, and breaking just feet before the earth).
When the kids were younger they wore coloured bracelets the park handed out to indicate the rides they could go on, based on their height. If they were too small for a particular ride, like the Drop Zone, they would stand in line with us, then move through and watch us.
As we were approaching the front of the line I noticed the operators weren’t paying much attention to individual riders. I looked at Alex and he looked back at me and I whispered, “do you want to go on?”
Without saying a word and with eyes wide open I knew his answer and ripped off his bracelet and told him to “just act natural”.
Megan moved beyond the barrier to get a better view and Alex moved toward the ride with Kathy and myself.
Suddenly I saw terror on Kathy’s face as she put 2 & 2 together.
Have you ever screamed at someone while at the same time whispering so not to be heard by those around you? It’s quite a skill and that’s what Kathy was doing. She was freaking out because our barely 4-foot-tall son was buckling up for the ride of his life.
I quickly hushed her so not to give us away and Alex sat between us. Kathy could look over him to me and with her eyes expressed great fear, dismay and a few other things I won’t go into.
The oblivious operator ensured we were secure in our seats (which meant you could barely move because the shoulder harness was so tight and restrictive).
Once moving towards the sky, Kathy let into me like no one’s business while Alex and I would have high-fived each other if we could get our arms free to do so.
After reaching the height of the ride, and taking in the view, we dropped back down to the ground at over 16 feet per second. The whole thing was over in about 30 seconds.
And it was awesome.
Once we were free from the ride, Alex and I did high-five each other and we couldn’t stop laughing. It’s a great memory for us…Kathy maybe not so much.
But I didn’t share this story to suggest a reckless parenting strategy or to encourage breaking the rules.
What Do You Do When Your Life is Out of (Your) Control?
I love that story of us riding the drop zone ride at Wonderland. I smile every time I think of it. But during the ride itself, you just can’t move much at all. Once we were harnessed in, everything was out of our control.
Ever felt like that?
A couple of weeks ago I shared a personal story about a situation that took Kathy and me by complete surprise and turned our world upside down. You can read it here.
In a blink, our life went from an exciting new adventure to everything is out of control and uncertain where nothing made sense.
Have you ever been there? I think most of us have. Because as I suggested last week, life is rarely “up and to the right”. It’s never a straight line. Whether your job or career, your family or marriage…it doesn’t matter. The most important things in our lives rarely go from point A to point B in a straight line. Up and to the right just doesn’t happen.
So what can you do?
Or maybe better, “What do you get to do?”
You get to decide.
You get to decide how you are going to respond to the situation that has caused you to feel like you’ve lost control. In other words, even when life is out of control, or you feel completely stuck and life is beyond your control, you still have options. You get to decide what you will do in response.
Sometimes life’s restraints are almost overwhelming. When you’re riding the Drop Zone, that’s okay…when your world is turned upside down, that’s another thing altogether.
But you still get to decide. You get to decide how you will respond.
Maybe you are in the middle of a “my life is upside down” situation.
What are you going to do?
Will you give up? Or will you regroup?
Will you seek input from trusted people in your life or will you grow more cynical and isolated?
Will you lean into God? Or will you become more self-sufficient?
Will you grow bitter? Or will you look for ways to learn, grow and improve?
Will you retreat and give up? Or will you discern what’s next?
Will you allow a setback to define you? Or will you allow it to propel you forward?
What will you decide to do?
Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Your life not where you want it to be? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 45-minute discovery call. Let’s talk.