We were at Disney's Magic Kingdom last week and I had finally convinced Tirzah and Zion to go with me on the 'log ride'. I remember from our Wish trip 3 years ago that there were some surprises on the ride.
Well we made it on. Zion was looking awfully nervous. Tirzah was starting to regret it.
But just before we got on, we had counted in 1-1000's as people would go over the 40 foot plunge. We determined it was just a bit over 2 full seconds. That's it. A great ride...with 2 seconds of terror. We could do that.
What I forgot about was the first drop...in the dark. So I already had kids clinging to me from behind...from the start of the ride. The funny part about this all is that I...their mama...am not brave on rides. I don't do crazy roller coasters and I'm really not brave.
Yet in this moment...I'm the bravest one. Funny how parenthood does that!
So we had finally come to the part in the ride...where the log climbed and climbed. I turned around to see Azahria holding on tightly. Zion looking terrified and secretly begging for a way of escape. Tirzah's eyes already closed. Zihao and Azlan were on either side of me. I had time to catch most of their eyes and say one last time "2 seconds of courage, you guys, we can do this!". I tried to keep my eyes open and I even tried to scream. Something happens at about the 20 ft mark where you literally...physcially...cannot. You can't breathe. You cannot see. And you just fall. When we landed I looked back to see Zion let out a scream he had been unable to release...and then he started to sob. Tirzah shook her head at me and said "never ever ever again". I'm laughing more at the fact that I, Janice Walker, am consoling anyone since I'm the biggest wimp ever. Azlan said he was fine til half way when he was sure we were dying. Azahria was a little pale. Zihao said it was pretty scary. And Zion is still sobbing. Tirzah's head is still shaking.
I kept trying to get in there that we did it. We did it. We didn't like it...but we did it. And to keep it in perspective it wasn't a scary ride, it was a very scary 2 seconds.
And yes...this thought is so powerful. There was a Toby Mac quote on fb recently that said "was it a bad day? Or was it a bad 5 minutes that you let control your day?" (something to that effect).
We see what we look for. I believe that with all my heart.
Right now? Our family is looking for gifts. And we are seeing them. In abundance. And in the grand scheme of our life...the big big picture...this trial is not our whole life. At the moment it feels like it. No question. But ... it's not.
What I have seen this week is so beautiful it's hard for me to express it here. I've seen a little girl come alive. Literally find her wings and fly. Not even start to fly...no...she's flying. And that...that was the purpose for this trip. Our healing trip.
Courage. There are many ways to describe it. One of my favorites is "being terrified and doing it anyway". It's kind of like my "I can do hard things". I think what resonates with people with that line is that we are acknowledging it's hard! That's not a sign of weakness. No...that's just stating the facts. I'm a realist. It's hard!! But it's the next part that the courage comes into play. I CAN DO IT! So it's hard. So what. We got that out on the table. It's hard. Harder than I'd ever choose. Harder than I wanted life to be. Harder that I was prepared for. Ok. What next? No quitting. No throwing in the towel. No burying myself under a mountain of blankets and curling into a fetal position until someone assures me that it's easy. No. No. It's terrifying. It's hard. But let's do it.
Shortly after our world fell part early summer...I remember thinking very vividly that the tendency would be to just survive through this storm. And honestly..even that would take divine intervention. But I didn't want that to happen. I didn't want our children to look back on those dark, horrific days as the darkest days in our lives. I became fiercely intentional.
I didn't sleep a wink that first night. I sobbed ALL night. At 7am I had a feast on the table and we went for a picnic that afternoon. The middle of a work day. The next day we went out for a family movie...something we never do. The next day we went to a friends house and had lunch in their back yard. The next day we played a 2plus hour game of Monopoly in the middle of the afternoon. And every single day...there was something we did as a family...to own that day. When I could barely breathe. And I mean that. My chest hurts as I type just reliving those moments. That doesn't make me stronger. I assure you. I'm so very weak. So very frail.
It's that childhood stubborness finally being channelled the right direction. I will not quit. I will not roll over. I will let these days be destroyed on my watch. I am TERRIFIED. But I will do it anyway.
One of the children recently said this past summer was the very best summer they can ever remember. And I got goosebumps. It was the worst months of my entire life. No question. I'm not a sugar coater. They knew what was going on. They came in to our room many times to see me sobbing and hitting my pillow. They knew. But they also saw determination and courage to be intentional.
When we absolutely didn't feel like it. When every part of us wanted to give up.
As we are sitting at the bottom of the log ride...Zion finally stops crying long enough to give me his attention. I held his hand and told him to focus on the fact that he did it. He did it. He had the 2 seconds of courage. He did it. And to not sit there reliving the terror of that drop.
His face changed. It was like I had just pulled him out of that place...into this place. A place of defeat and regret to a place of victory.
As we got off the ride...I smiled. Not because of the ride. But because I know one of the greatest battles is the battle of the mind. And little does Zion know that i'm in the same fight. Every moment of the day. In many areas of my life. Do I sit reliving the horror and feel the weight of the terror and all the regret that comes with it...or do I look back and go "Ahhhh. God...we made it. This far. We made it here. We are alive." Do I feel the victory or sit in the regret? And we are by no means in a place of where this is all behind us.
We were walking towards Dean and the other kids when Zion looked at me and said "ok I'm glad you named me Zion Courage, I need that".
Yes. That is his name. He's not the one that naturally has it. He's the one that needs the reminder that he can choose.