Monday, August 2, 2010

Life is a Water Park

I’ve decided life is like a water park with a maze of slides.

From the bottom vantage point, you look up, see the twists and turns and hear other people squealing with glee, and you feel sprays of water, and you think—hey, this is going to be fun. So you start the trek upward.

You walk and then climb, sometimes carrying a tube or small child. The ground is hot, the line is long, and the sun beats down on your skin until you’re positive you’re going to be bright red by the end of the day. You wonder if the ride you’ve chosen is worth the wait. Worth the effort.

You’ve already come this far, so you might as well keep going, right? You climb some more. Sometimes, you pass slides or attractions that are lower down. Not necessarily easier, but more accessible. You wonder if you’d be better off going on those attractions. The line is shorter anyway. It might not be as much fun or bring the same kind of satisfaction, but it would still be a good experience, and you’d have the relief of being wet. Sometimes you ride that smaller slide, knowing that if you don’t love it, you’ll have to start the climb again. You’re okay with that, so you go.

In the back of your mind, you’re still dying to ride that big slide. The one you can see from a mile away in any direction. The one that few people ride because it’s so high up and requires so much work to get there. And that slide is scary. It has tunnels, and unknown twists and turns. And the pool at the bottom is deeper than the others.

Not everyone rides that slide. Not everyone wants to. From the top of the platform, you can look down and see people milling around at the bottom, basking in the sun, waiting under umbrellas, playing in the wave pool, taking completely different risks. Those people look happy. And they are. So why aren’t you down there with them?

You don’t want to be there, because some of us have a need to take a risk. To go that extra mile and fly down that slide. We’re willing to navigate the tunnels and the twists and turns, even knowing that we’ll have to swim for our lives once we get to the bottom.

We do this because it’s how we’re made. It’s what we need. It’s part of who we are. There’s nothing wrong with hanging out at ground level and basking under an umbrella, but it’s not for us.

In order for us to be successful and happy, we have to take risks. And so we do.

Have you taken any risks lately? Tell me about them.


Angie said...

I don't do water slides anymore. :( But I used to love them back when I was young. And thin. Anyway, I can't think of any big risks I've taken lately. Must be time to do so!

Bethany Mason said...

The problem is for those people down below - they may be completely happy but they are often told that it's impossible to be that happy if you don't go on the big slide (whether they want to or not) until they start believing it and feeling bad that they don't really want it. I have nothing against those who want to ride the big slide but I don't like the assumption that everyone wants to.

Btw, I know that you're not implying it, I'm just reminding you :)