, Corbin, KY

January 27, 2014

The roller coaster experience solution

The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — Not sure how positive you are in your attitude about 2014, but I am interested in hearing your thoughts. You could be one who is expecting 2014 to be a great year or a more productive year than last year. You could be someone who is not sure what to expect so you are bracing for the worst of things in hopes of just surviving. Either way, I am confident we’ve all done a little of both.

I am sure about several things in life. For some, they had high hopes beginning in 2014 and already they are facing their nightmare — unemployment. Returning from the holidays to discover the company has taken a different direction, or that your services are no longer needed can be heartbreaking. I know a lady who has enjoyed her employment with the same company for many years. Before Christmas, she heard of layoffs and possible terminations. She stepped forward, went to her supervisors and said, “With a severance offer, I am willing to go and begin my retirement now.” Even a decision like this described, while voluntarily, can be challenging too.

The best possible way to enjoy 2014 is to have the roller coaster attitude. If you dislike roller coasters, then I am pretty sure there is nothing about this example you are going to like. This, however, could also be the key to success. Riding a roller coaster used to be simple. You would sit down, a bar would fold over your lap and you would ride a rail on a wooden track, and within a minute or so the ride would be over.

Today, there are still wooden tracks, but the design of the roller coaster has changed drastically. On some roller coasters, you can stand the entire time. Yes, I wrote stand, and this includes going upside down while you are standing too. I am still not sure how my feet remained inside. OK, I understand “G” forces, but still it is amazing that going upside down, and around, and back over, and upside down again, I have remained inside the apparatus that I was strapped into is still holding me... I am a pretty happy guy.

The experience of a roller coaster ride that seems to be pushing and pulling, your hips going from side to side in the seat, your head bobbing forward and backwards, the thought of raising your hands up into the air seems totally crazy. My first roller coaster experiences were death grips on the bar in front of me. Holding up my hands was totally out of the question. I can remember thinking if you did that there would be a great possibility that something would hit your hands and “off a limb” would go. Not sure what it was that moved me to let go of the hand rail and the safety rail, but for whatever reason I gradually did let go, and now I can ride with my hands up in the air on nearly all of the rides.

There is something that must be said for letting go and trusting not only in an amusement park ride, but in life too. I am writing this column because I know what it is to hold on to things — jobs, titles, positions, places and even people. The struggle to let go even if we are strapped in can be a challenge. Riding in a riverboat with a glass bottom is an experience and walking out on an overlook over a canyon or mountain bluff that has a glass floor can be not only scary but truly frightening. I get it — when I write I understand. I’ve been there and done that too. Our attitude about 2014 sets not only a pace, but maybe more importantly, an expectation. There is no way to predict what is going to happen or even where you will be seven months from now. We can anticipate, plan and expect to be where we want to be, but there are no guarantees that we will find ourselves there when that time arrives.

Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem. Born in a manager, and yet his parents had to fear for His life immediately. In the temple as a young boy Jesus found Himself at home asking questions and learning, but His parents would again be fearful when they realized they were traveling and He had been left behind. Fear again when Jesus began his public ministry and while others embraced Him, others would begin to plot how to destroy this one that some were calling the Son of God and the Savior of the World. Unanswered questions often leave us wondering. Peace is the only answer, and I’ve discovered that comes through a relationship with Him.

Until then...