Saturday, November 28, 2015 • 03:19

Get off the ride

November 21, 2013
Remember the teacup ride at Disneyland? The ride itself is a pretty simple design. The 'tea tray' is a giant platform on which sit over-sized teacups in which the 'victims' sit. Attendants put chains across the opening of the cup to ensure that no one gets out. In the middle of the cup is a post with a small wheel on top that acts as the stir stick. When the ride begins the whole tray begins to spin at an increasing rate of speed. Then, to increase the disorientation, the victims are required to communally turn the wheel on the top of the stirring stick, which makes the cup spin as well. The result is a phantasmagoric ecstasy or psychedelic nightmare, depending on your point of view.

The fun part is watching the people get off the ride.

Some are giggling, begging to go on again. Others are sick and vow to never do it again. But, no matter the reaction, one thing is true of all — their inner ear is scrambled. What we call their "equilibrium" is disturbed, making them dizzy and disoriented. The victims of the cup cannot move in a purposeful direction as they wander around like spun-drunk sailors.

The truth about many of us is we ride the cup everyday. We spin through our days, turning to this responsibility and that activity, running-off here and heading-off there, spinning through life multi-tasking and staying connected because we buy into the expectations of our bosses, workmates, clients and friends that we need to be available 24/7. We are dizzy. We can no longer move with a sense of purpose. We cannot focus. We suffer from a kind of hurry-sickness.

The worst part of the spinning cup is it makes the people in our lives appear as nothing more than distorted, shifting illusions devoid of personality and significance. When you're in the cup, all you can clearly see are the anguished faces of your cup-mates as you all frantically turn the wheel, which only makes the cup spin faster still. After a while, nobody in the cup even knows why he or she continues to turn the wheel — it's just what you do when you're on the ride.

So … when did you last get off the ride? And, no, the five hours of sleep you got last night does not count. When was the last time you just relaxed and took a walk? How long has it been since you got out of the cup long enough to evaluate your priorities and your motives, to ask yourself why you do the things you do?

Many of us started our lives with noble dreams about the kind of life we wanted for our families and ourselves. For many, those dreams included giving Jesus his rightful place in our lives. But, then life happened; and those dreams got dismissed or diluted in the swirl of the cup.

What if this holiday season you gave yourself and the people around you a different kind of gift? The gift of getting out of the cup often enough and long enough to restore a sense of thankfulness and joy back into the ride. What if you took control of your one and only life? This holiday season, nurture an attitude of gratitude by getting off the ride to smell a rose, to inventory your blessings, to appreciate your breathing … and most of all, to make sure you give the Giver of Life his rightful place in your life.

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