Roller Coaster

Life is a great big canvas; throw as much paint on it as you can. ~ Danny Kaye

I know some things about roller coasters. I know that at first glance they scare the crap out of me, but I inevitably think it’s a brilliant idea to get on and ride. I know that the 2-3 minute ride will offer relentless twists, turns, ups, and downs. I know the anticipation of climbing the first hill will give me white knuckles no matter how many deep cleansing Lamaze-type breaths I take.

On the way up, depending upon how many times I’ve ridden the snake-like rails I can ALL BUT memorize the patterns and begin to imagine what is around the next corner. Not to say that knowing helps the foreboding and angst when an unexpected fall sneaks up and steals my stomach for a few seconds. I know it will be over soon.

I know there are different types of coasters, some twist and turn like a corkscrew. Others just have the ups and downs and are labeled “out and backs.” I know the latter are my favorite even though all carry their own set of thrills and level of surprises.

I know I don’t want to ride coasters alone. I want a partner; preferably one I don’t have to coax to go on the ride with me. I know I want them to toss their hands in the air with breathless expectation and I will do the same. I want someone who, as we approach the entrance, is just as giddy and eager as me. And after, as we hustle to the exit, I know that by the jaunt in their step and the avid gleam in their eye we are thinking the same thing. “Let’s go again!”

I’ve learned that life is extremely similar to the roller coaster. I’ve learned that even though, at times, it can be scary, I inevitably think it’s a brilliant idea to get on and ride. I’ve learned it will be over soon. I’ve learned it’s a heck of a lot more fun to ride with friends. I’ve learned to anticipate most twists and turns, but not let my expectations shatter the experience. I’ve learned I want to experience as much as I possibly can. I’ve learned that whatever lies around the next corner can be so severe I need to just hang on and pray. I’ve learned to throw up my hands and scream like a little girl, because the one glaring difference between life and coasters calls out to me at every twist and turn.

 I can only go once.

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