Metallic, clanging of gears and bars attempts to jar you back to reality. But you are off balance, your world feels as if it has been knocked off its axis. Feeling as if you are simply surviving life amidst the blur of confusion and the cacophony of metal screeching against metal, your eyes try to make out the wooden bench only a few feet away. I must sit down, the only thought that can make its way to the surface of your mind shouts at you.
As you descend the last of the groaning steel steps, you are filled with a sense of anger….anger that the ride wouldn’t stop and let you get off, anger at the striving you are now required to do to get your world righted again, anger that nothing or no one seemed to hear you scream in terror as one turn of the amusement park ride swirled into ten, then twenty revolutions.
When your feet finally step off of the red and yellow monster and stumble across the litter-strewn walkway to the waiting bench, you choke down the heaving of your stomach and suck in deep breaths of air. Even the foul air is relief from lack of air moments before. The ground seems to push its way up into your body through your feet almost causing your knees to buckle.
With each slow unsteady step to the bench, you wait while your head still buzzes, your ears ring, and the ground slowly rocks like the ocean waves taunting a helpless boat. Feeling the roiling in your stomach, though the motion has stopped, forces you to sit completely still, afraid to move lest the rocking starts up again.
For the last-however-long (time stood still while you wondered if you would survive), your body was slammed against the hard metal sides of the park’s ride. And now you have survived the nightmare of what was the inescapable fear of the unknown. No longer on the ride, your body, senses, and mind take their time making this a reality. Feet just want to touch on Earth again.
It’s over. You’re off. It is done.
This is how I felt as a young girl on an amusement park ride that seemed never ending and full of terror.
This is how I have felt the last few months. Life seemed like a giant metal monster, tossing and turning until I had lost all sense of direction. It left me with the jarring effects of a long and painful ride. This is how my family has felt too.
In the span of three short months we said good-bye to two family members. I hate to say “they lost the battle of life” because that’s simply not true. Both of them WON THE FIGHT and have entered into NEW LIFE, ETERNAL LIFE. We, left behind, feel we have lost. We feel we have lost them, though only temporarily. We want them here on earth with us, but if that decision were truly given to us, we would release them again to heaven’s glory.
The very painful and long ride of watching these two precious ones deal with illnesses, and offering any help we could to make their lives here better, has taken its toll. No, not a detrimental toll, though there are days for my family it may feel this way. But each of us are on our individual journeys of learning to do life again after it was so drastically interrupted.
Until last week, my body has physically ached from head to toe, my mind has been muddled, my fingers couldn’t hold a pen to write much more than a grocery list, my heart would race unexpectedly with fear. I felt like I would never get “centered” again. A life off axis is confusing, shaking, disorienting.
Ask my sister, her family, my mother, my immediate and extended family, and we will all tell you the same. We all know this journey of grief and processing such great loss is hardly over.
Some of us are trying to stand again after this life-altering ride and realize though the jarring, sickening, slamming time is over, we may feel like it but we know we aren’t crushed or defeated or destroyed.
Some of us are still reeling from the repetitive, harsh motions that leave aftershocks of the dread-filled seemingly unending ride. But this too is over. It all has stopped; so did our hearts, but only momentarily.
Others of us are once again testing our legs to see if they are now fit to stand, then walk again. They are; we can and will walk.
The ride is over.
The madness has stopped.
The effects are life-changing.
The moment has arrived to breathe and calm and settle again.
As much as is possible, we will and must continue on.
In II Samuel 22, our Biblical friend, David, has just survived a brutal, near-death enemy attack. He pauses and notices his feet are still on solid ground, his life is still continuing, his heart is still beating.
All because of God in the midst of his own unending ride.
Here are snippets of his chapter-long praise to God, his Rescuer:
(From II Samuel 22, The Message)
God is bedrock under my feet,
the castle in which I live,
my rescuing knight.
My God—the high crag
where I run for dear life….I sing to God the Praise-Lofty,
and find myself safe and saved….The waves of death crashed over me,
devil waters rushed over me.
Hell’s ropes cinched me tight;
death traps barred every exit.
A hostile world! I called to God,
to my God I cried out.
From his palace he heard me call;
my cry brought me right into his presence—
a private audience!….He stood me up on a wide-open field;
I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!
God made my life complete
when I placed all the pieces before him.
When I cleaned up my act,
he gave me a fresh start.
Indeed, I’ve kept alert to God’s ways;
I haven’t taken God for granted.
Every day I review the ways he works,
I try not to miss a trick.
I feel put back together,
and I’m watching my step.
God rewrote the text of my life
when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes….Suddenly, God, your light floods my path, God drives out the darkness.
Like God did for David, He has done for me, for us. He is our solid rock, because of Him, we are safe and saved. Hearing our cries, He rescues us, stands us back up, loves us, and sets things right again.
Simply put, my heart can continue to beat a normal rhythm without fear, my mind can return to clarity, my fingers can write again, my soul can be calm. Because He rescued me and my family and has and is setting our worlds that have been knocked off their axis back in place, we will be okay.
It is well. I am loved.
It is well. I am rescued.
It is well. I am safe and saved.
A note from the author: Many of you have sweetly asked, when are you going to write again? First of all, thank you for noticing that I wasn’t writing. It has been a couple months since my fingers could make it happen and my mind and heart could cooperate. Secondly, thank you for the prayers from those of you who have walked with me and my family as we journeyed these last few months. And lastly, I will write again! It may be slow in returning or it could all return in a flood of words and emotions. Either way, I will carry on with my passion. Sometimes it gets clouded over and momentarily lost. But I have found it again. TS
Have you joined?
Receive Rest and Shade for your Soul - Directly in your inbox!