So many lessons came from our little trip to the Dells. I’m probably going to milk it for all its worth…
While we were there my hubby worked up the courage to go down the drop slide. It is a slide that is a good 7 stories up. In order to go down the ride you have to step into a capsule, have the door close on you and then have the floor drop out from under you and…
Down you go.
The ride is literally over in three seconds.
I told hubby that if he could do it, I would also give it a try.
A few months ago, the girls and I had been at this water park with a church group and I had been in line to go down this ride and race my brother, the church’s youth pastor. As we got to the front of the agonizingly long line, it stopped dead in its tracks. There was a problem. At first we thought it was with the ride. You can imagine how that was freaking me out. It wasn’t with the ride though. Someone had gone down the ride, gotten out at the bottom and fallen and cracked their head. EMT’s were called and the ride was shut down. I was really bummed I couldn’t race my brother down the drop slides (cue sarcastic tone here).
Now, back at the water park with my hubby and kids, I was about to eat my words.
“If you do, I will too.”
So the kids and I waited at the bottom of the slide to watch hubby come down.
I couldn’t believe he actually did it!
He said it was amazing but terrifying! The worst part was waiting for the bottom to give way and drop you. After that, the ride was a breeze.
Immediately, he said, “Ok. Your turn.”
I wasn’t sure I could do it.
But, to save face, I walked up those thousands of stairs and got to the top. No line. No waiting and giving my courage time to abandon me.
I got up there and stepped into the capsule. The ride attendant stepped back towards their buttons and all of a sudden I panicked. I started banging on the glass. “I can’t do it! I can’t do it!”
So she let me out and I made the long much-harder-then-just-taking-the-ride-down way down the millions of stairs.
My family saw me walking towards them and said, “What gives?”
“I can’t do it!”
“Yes you can! Now you get up there and just close your eyes and don’t think about it! It’ll be over before you know it!”
I waffled for a bit but then went slowly back up those stairs. I was starting to lose my breathe.
Courage takes a lot of work sometimes.
When I got to the top, I stepped in the capsule, closed my eyes and listened to the ride attendant: “3, 2, 1, Prepare to Launch”…or as Clint and I joked, it should have said, “Prepare to Die.”
And down I went.
It was thrilling.
I made Clint go back up with me and we raced down the drop racers.
Then Chloe decided she wanted to try it.
My tall, skinny, brave, risk taking 10 year old.
I said, “OK, I’ll go with you.”
So we went up. And the higher up we got, the less sure she was.
We made the trip up and down those stairs twice.
She was so upset with herself.
At one point she said, “I’m such a wimp!”
Clint and I both tried to make her feel better. I don’t think it was until we said this one thing to her that she was finally able to let it go:
“A wimp! Are you kidding me! You’re no such thing! Do you know how many people can’t even bring themselves to walk up those stairs? And you took them twice! You, my dear, are no wimp. You are brave. You are courageous. Most people couldn’t even do what you did. Be proud of how far you made it today.”
So, she decided she was done worrying about it and wasn’t going to think about it again until she was 11. When she’s 11, she will go down it. Her words. And I know she will.
Courage comes in stages sometimes. It comes in two steps forward one step back. Or sometimes, one step forward two steps back. It’s not always about taking a crazy leap. Sometimes its about just showing up. Just trying.
“You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” – Wayne Gretzky