Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Be Not Afraid

   A church carnival is a great place to confront fear in a safe (for the most part) simulated environment. Books and movies can invite our minds to enter dark cobwebbed passageways without a candle, and to conjure up treacherous obstacles and horrifying monsters, but a carnival ride puts our body in the game. The rides are designed for maximum scream factor, within a church carnival budget. We're not talking 6 Flags here, but the creaking, spinning, rising, and dropping carny rides can get the job done. The target audience is the tweens and teens, whose healthy limber bodies tend to better endure the physical retching and tossing without actually physically retching and tossing. This is especially true for frequent flying. Nothing is more disheartening than to triumphantly dismount the Hammer of Death after 3 minutes of absolute chaos with your arm adhered around a six year old, smiling and laughing the entire time in order to more convincingly model courage and coolness, and then to have the said six year old squeal, "That was awesome, Daddy! Let's do it again!" I remember one "thrill attraction" in particular which had my youngest daughter so blissfully excited that the ride operator smiled and sent us past the load/unload position for a second tour "on the house." She could not believe our luck, while I laughed along with her and internally screamed the silent scream.

   I think it's a good thing for our children to test their courage with campfire stories and carnival rides. I still remember my sister's thrill at the close of one summer when she finally forced herself to step off of the high dive at our local public pool. The little victories are critical in preparing us for the larger tribulations we will in time confront. As an adult, I have learned to put my trust in God. I place my fears before God in prayer, and then move on in confidence that "God's Will" will indeed be done. This addresses fear at a faith level, but it doesn't necessarily free me from feelings of anxiety or concern. Not yet, anyway. I'm a work in progress.

   For me, the carnival ride is a perfect metaphor. I know that the ride will end well. I have watched others encounter the ride before me, and as I buckle myself in, I remind myself that the danger will be mostly an illusion, but while I'm strapped in and the "fun" is underway, feelings of fear are expected. Just as rides are engineered to fool our senses into thinking we will fall out, or that the car will leave the track, the trials and tribulations of this 88 year (plus or minus only God knows) temporal life can seem much more critical, or frightening, or hopeless than they truly are,  seen outside of the context of a firm faith in eternal life. Eventually, the ride ends well. It might get bumpy and I might lose my egg roll lunch - but it will end, and forever will just be getting started.


  1. Good stuff! Keep blogging! I enjoyed this post very much. Thanks

  2. Great post! never thought about tweens and teens needing to "test" their courage before, but I guess that is true.

    At my age, I've done the roller coaster thing and have that crossed off my "things to do in my lifetime list." Will be very happy if I never get on one again!!

  3. Love this post! "...forever will just be getting started." Yes, indeed. The carnival ride analogy is great.
    I second David's "Keep blogging!"
    God Bless.

  4. Good post. Enjoyed it. God bless!

  5. Thanks to all for visiting and for the affirming words. Was there ever a better time to be a writer?

  6. Great post! It's so easy to think of our trials in larger-than-life proportions when they're really just everyday trials. Have to keep our eyes fixed on one spot -- Jesus -- just like when I was 10, if I had kept my eyes fixed on one spot on the Spider ride, which whirled around and around, I wouldn't have given up my lunch then, either. :)

    God bless!