Wednesday, May 27, 2009
This year our denominational convention was in Anaheim, but being that our kids are now 18 and 16,they weren't interested in going to Disneyland -- no -- it had to be Magic Mountain. The place is known for being not as clean as Disney, and not as family friendly -- but the hey, they put all their money into their rides (at least that is what I hoped). At least one dozen insane roller coasters. So on Memorial Day, the day before our church convention we went for it. We arrived early and stood in line to be one of the first ones in the park...or so we thought. For 30 minutes we waited for the gates to open and then the stampede began. Our strategy -- go to the first "BIG" ride and then work our way through them -- Starting with X2, then Tatsu, then Terminator.. At exactly 12:30 (two hours after the park opened) we were strapped into our first ride. I'll tell you what it was like. Imagine strapping yourself to piece of plywood. Invert it and find a way to shake it violently for 90 seconds. If that sounds fun, you would love Magic Mountain. It was on that first ride that my brain dislocated from the lining of my skull.
As we walked to the second ride I noticed that I was one of the oldest people there. I observed that I was probably older then 95% of the people there. The park was full of teens and people in their lower 20s. Then I thought to myself, this just might be my last time at Magic Mountain with Heidi and the kids. Alicia is going off to college and Levi isn't really far behind. I was confronted with the dawning of a new season in my life. And rather than feeling sad about it, I smiled, and I thought, I can do this next ride, one last time. I smiled and found the next ride to me far less painful.
There was a time when those rides looked really fun. In a similar way, people beginning jobs often look at their new job with the enthusiasm of a teen getting on a mind bending roller coaster. Couples starting a new family often dive in without fear of the sleepless nights, the "loss of freedom" and the tremendous demands of parenting. After a while, though, seasons lose their lustre, fatigue can creep in and life isn't as fun as it used to be. But there is always something new, something different and something possibly even more rewarding, right around the corner. Just don't get stuck in the former season. There is a time and a season for everything.
On June 6-7 I will be speaking out of Ecclesiastes 3. You may want to go ahead it read it now. I hope you don't mind if I tell this story again then.