Do you ever have skinny days? When I say ‘skinny days’ I mean the kind of day that you just feel skinny, even if the reality is you’ve only lost about 2 pounds? I just had one of those days when I pulled on my jeans, fresh out of the dryer, and they fit perfectly. I looked in the mirror and briefly indulged myself in a daydream of future swimsuits without skirts, and shirts that don’t have the word ‘tunic’ in their description. This moment happened right before my family and I embarked on an evening of fun at an amusement park. But when you have small children, at some point you end up cramming yourself into a ride that was never intended for you, but instead for little humans under 40 pounds. Usually I reserve those rides for my husband, but since I was feeling so skinny… well, I’m sure you can guess what happened next.
I optimistically climbed into the kiddie roller coaster with one of my children, and behind me was my husband with another. I tried to pull the bar down and it didn’t latch so I assumed the ride attendant must do it with those keys they carry around. Looking behind me however, I saw that my husband’s bar was firmly secured over his lap so I asked him how he got it latched. He told me you just pull it down until it clicks. I tried again; sucking my stomach in as far as humanly possible and still couldn’t get mine to click. I was hoping against all hope that this was a mechanical problem but looking up I saw the ride attendant striding toward me with what I really felt was some aggression. I desperately pulled harder and tried to push all the air out of my lungs, hoping to condense my body to the absolute smallest mass possible. The attendant arrived and tried to push it closed as I whispered “Am I too big for this ride?” She kindly responded, “I think we can make it work” while her face began to turn an angry red from the exertion of trying to get my patiently waiting small child and me, secured. Finally she got it latched after two last ditch attempts that horrifyingly involved jumping up in the air and pushing with all her weight on the way down; a move I’ve only seen in professional wrestling and a process that caused both of us to break out in a full sweat. I would have been relieved if the whole situation hadn’t drawn everyone’s attention to me as they tried to figure out who was holding up the ride. It also would have felt better if I could breath.
All that work for a ride that only lasted two minutes. Two minutes I spent worrying that in order for the bar to release it would first have to be pushed down further. Two minutes filled with wishes that I had brought a can of WD-40 or even a stick of butter to aid in the prison break of my now involuntary confinement. Two minutes of barraging myself with self-talk that did not even remotely affirm the progress I’d already made on my better health journey. Two minutes that a year ago would have sent me right to the concession stand to drown my sorrows in brownie sundae. But you know what? Not this time! God is good and He is with me every step of my journey. Resilience has taken the place of defeat; purpose now resides in the spot left by stagnancy; the old is replaced by the new! “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2 From now on I’ll joyfully spend time renewing my mind while I wait for my husband go on the kiddie rides with the little ones. I may be on my way, but another incident like that could potentially land me in the path of an economy size chocolate bar.