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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Fearful (08/23/07)

TITLE: The Ride of Your Life
By Patty Wysong


The cage jerked and began moving. Cindy's heart pounded. “Lord, what have I gotten myself into?”

Across from her, Heather laughed nervously and Gram patted her hand. “Did I ever tell you that your grandfather wanted to propose on a ferris wheel but was afraid he'd drop the ring? Even after 45 years, he's a romantic at heart.”

The cage rocked gently as it rose higher and higher, and Cindy's knuckles grew whiter and whiter. When they were at the highest point her fingernails were chalk white and she was quietly gasping for breath. Below her she could see people walking around with their cotton candy, but that was all she had time to see before her stomach started rolling and twisting. Panic was beginning to set in.

A squeak from her daughter drew her attention. Heather was white as a ghost. The mother in Cindy kicked in. She focused on what her mother said. “I never knew that, Mom.”

“Gramp and I have always loved ferris wheels, but when he saw his idea wouldn't work he took me to the lookout point. It was the highest point we could get to.” Gram smiled nostalgically but Cindy hardly noticed, as she was too relieved to be on the way down. The lower they went the more color seeped back into her knuckles and once they were near the bottom she pulled each finger from its stranglehold on the seat. She shook them out and rested them in her lap, but that only lasted until they began going up again. When they were half way to the top her hands were clamped back on the seat.

“It's crazy to be this scared,” Cindy said. “I know I'm safe, so why am I so afraid?”

Her mother laughed. “Did you forget you're afraid of heights? Oh, not little heights, only the big ones, like this.” She waved her fingers around her head. “Looking far in the distance helps. Heather, do you think we can see Kincaid's barn from up here?” Heather frantically looked for it and as she did she seemed to relax a little, even though they were just past the highest point.

Cindy, who sat facing them, had her eyes fixed on the parking lot she could see in the distance. She noted the kind of trees that surrounded it and the trolley winding through the rows of cars. The farther out she looked, the less her heart raced.

“You know, riding a ferris wheel is a lot like trusting God.” Gram said as they slowly went down. “Oh look, there's Millie Hunter, from church. Wave, girls, maybe she'll see us.” They managed small waves and Gram beamed when Millie waved back.

“How is riding a ferris wheel like trusting God, Mom?” Cindy's heart was speeding up again and she was thankful for the distraction.

“Well, like you said, you're safe on here, even though you don't feel safe. It kind of feels like you're hanging out in the middle of nowhere, doesn't it?” Their faces turned whiter. “But you really aren't,” Gram hastened to add. “There's plenty of safety features on these things and they inspect them every day. Oh, look, Heather!” Gram pointed. “There's Kincaid's barn! Can you see it?”

“Yeah, I see it! It's even big from up here, Mom. Next to that big barn, their house sure is small!” In her excitement Heather had forgotten to be scared as they rounded the top.

“There. You see? When you get your eyes off where you are, and look around, you can see so much. Fear blinds you to the really wonderful things in life.” Gram reached over and gave Heather a squeeze.

Cindy sighed in relief as they went lower. “But, Mom, how is this like trusting God?”

“Oh dear, did I forget that part?” Gram laughed. “If you're safe on a ferris wheel, don't you think you're even safer tucked in God's hand? You might as well just relax, trust God and look around, knowing He's got it all under control. Don't let fear blind you and you'll see the most spectacular things. You'll see God working and then you'll see where you can jump in and work with Him. You may end up in places you never thought you'd go to, and do things you thought you couldn't, but with God holding you you'll be safe with Him. Trusting God really is the ride of your life.”

“...He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions.” Deuteronomy 32:10-11 (New International Version)

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Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 08/30/07
You definitely have a gift for weaving amazing lessons into amazing stories without sounding preachy in the least. Wonderful, engaging writing.
Sheri Gordon08/30/07
I really like this -- it's an object lesson I needed to hear. And your descriptive writing is very good. I was going up and down with you on the ferris wheel -- getting the anxiety right along with Cindy. Good job.
Jan Ackerson 08/31/07
Really cool object lesson!

I was very briefly confused by the fact that you had two scared characters--Cindy and Heather. Maybe just one would have been a bit tighter?

This was very visual and also--what's the word, tactile? I could see and feel every moment. Nicely done.
Dee Yoder 09/03/07
I like the way you tied your illustration to the point about trusting the Lord. Good mingling of the characters, and the truth in scriptures.
Verna Cole Mitchell 09/03/07
Your idea of presenting a Biblical lesson while riding a roller coaster is very creative. Great job.
Sherrie Jackson09/03/07
"If you're safe on a ferris wheel, don't you think you're even safer tucked in God's hand?" - my favorite line. Gram had a lot of wonderful things to say.

I was a bit confused about who was who in the beginning; other than that, this was a very comforting, well-written read. Good luck!
Jacquelyn Horne09/03/07
You captured these fearful moments well.
Rhonda Clark09/03/07
This is very cool. I like the comparison of being in God's hand with the ferris wheel.

Great job.
George Parler 09/05/07
You are a wonderful communicator and your writing is living proof of that. Good job.
Kristen Hester09/05/07
I am not kidding when I say this, but I really felt dizzy when I read your story like I was actually on the ferris wheel. GREAT WRITING! I loved how calm the grandmother felt just chatting away while the others were white faced. She made me laugh. I could picture the three of them. This is EXCELLENT!
LaNaye Perkins09/05/07
I really like the comparison you used here. Next time I ride a farris wheel I'm sure I will think of this story.
Betty Castleberry09/05/07
Good message wrapped up in a well written story.
This is quite creative, too. I wouldn't have thought of using a ferris wheel as an example. Nicely done.
Myrna Noyes09/05/07
I agree with Cindy that it is scary at the very top of the ferris wheel! :) This is a well-written story with a great message of comfort for our fears! The dialogue was very believeable, and I love the Scripture verse at the end!
Dee Yoder 09/06/07
Way to go, Patty! Woo-hoo!! So happy for you, friend!
Myrna Noyes09/06/07
CONGRATULATIONS on your 1st place in Advanced and on your EC, too!!!! :) WAY TO GO!
Leigh MacKelvey09/06/07
Yeah! Yeah! yeah! Peej! See you in the antholgy! Proud of you, girl!
Brad Paulson09/06/07
This reads like a Norman Rockwell painting, so familiar, so true, so beautiful
Sheri Gordon09/07/07
Congratulations on your EC. This was one of my favorites.