Going for a spin

1 Jul

Today has already been a rollercoaster of a day and it’s only 10:30.  I’m not certain how I can pack so many mood swings into just a bit of time, but what can I say, I’ve got talent.

It occurred to me after my experiences this morning that sometimes life is so much like one of those amusement park rides – something like the spinning tea cups.  Where you are constantly whirling and spinning and the world around you seems to be a blur.  It seems impossible to focus in any one direction.  I’ve been on these rides with the kids before and they will want to wave to a grandparent or their dad and it seems as soon as we are able to fix our eyes on them, we are yanked away spinning in another direction.

Life sometimes seems that way – and I don’t mean the overall arch of life.  I mean moment by moment it seems like it is hard to be fully in the  moment without suddenly being yanked into a new direction.  I can’t speak to life without kids.  I have long since forgotten that reality, and honestly, I’m  not sure all of the complexities of life had even really begun by then anyhow.  Life with kids seems like a particularly hopped up ride. 

I woke up feeling yucky today – a natural consequence of overlooking food for a day – and really wasn’t not in the mood to move.  However, as the day progressed I found myself enjoying the sunshine, soothed by the sound of the swimmers in the pool, uplifted by the music on the radio and just really enjoying the day.  I felt ready to face the day, joyfully anticipating the time with the children, optimistic about overcoming obstacles.  It seemed all was right with the world.  Within a moment, the tea cup whirled away and off I went in another direction.  Sounds dramatic doesn’t it…It leaves you on the edge of your seat.  “Oh no!” you exclaim to yourself, “What happened!”  The source of this dramatic shift?  My teenager had to sit in the backseat as his younger brother was given permission to ride “shotgun”.  His already lackluster mood (a result of a late bedtime the day before) took a nose dive as he railed against everyone, even his baby sister.  Within a few minutes my cheerful children became a pack of grumbling and gripping misfits.  The word curmudgeon was never more appropriately applied than when it is used to describe the folks who rode home in my car this morning.  Suddenly my uplifted spirit sank and the sunshine was eclipsed and I recalled how crummy and hungry I felt.  I know, a bad mom moment.  Am I alone?  Have you ever been there?

A couple of summers ago, one of my sons and I went to Space Camp.  The bona fide, official, NASA certified Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama.  One of the experiences, among the many that we participated in, was an enormous gyroscope that you were fastened into.  This “ride” would send you spinning across three different planes simultaneously.  Designed to train astronauts to work in an environment where there was not necessarily an up and down, it was the one “experience” that many of the kids and parents were shy about sampling.  Of course there was a few gung-ho folks – the risk-taker, thrill-seeker sort.  Then there was me and my son.  Now I love amusement park rides, but I am very sensitive to motion sickness and this seemed like a perfect opportunity to generate just enough nausea that I could sufficiently embarrass myself publicly.  Determine to sample every opportunity presented – I mean what’s the chance I will go again in my lifetime? – I decided to give it a whirl (pun only moderately intended).  The best advice I was given is never look side to side.  Never turn your head.  Just lock your gaze straight ahead and you will be fine.  I took the advice.  I couldn’t help but break out in hysterical giggles as each turn and spin generated such a thrill in my soul.  And at the end of the ride, i stepped down with a sense of satisfaction.

The point of this story is that perhaps one of the things that we can do as we swing around through life is to work on keeping our eyes focused on our purpose.  It seems that life is always going to throw you curve balls.   it will be something as stupid and little as a grouchy teenager, and sometimes it can be so much larger.  But I think if we are able to keep our gaze straight forward and not only these dips and spins to tempt us to turn our head from side to side, we will be able to endure and persevere through each ride.


One Response to “Going for a spin”

  1. Cheryl July 7, 2010 at 12:03 pm #

    LOVE your writing! What a great message!

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