"We are closer to G-d when we are asking the questions, than when we think we have the answers" Heschel

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The roller coaster of life

FNQ - special

Some who are reading this post may have more intimate knowledge of my family's personal roller coaster ride over the past month, some may have less and some may not even know who I am. But I am sure that all can relate to the metaphor. Although it is impossible to figure out the whys of G-d for He is much smarter than us, I do think we are required to challenge ourselves and consider the for what's.

The highs and lows of life seem to have an insatiable love affair. They simply cannot exist without the other. Anyone who tells you that they have experienced only joy and have known no sadness is either a child or a liar. Peeks and valleys, ebbs and flows (ratzo v'shov) that is the nature of life. I believe that after the past month I have a little better understanding of what it's all for.

What makes a roller coaster fun? Why do people wait on line for hours just to get a few minutes of a rush? Because on a roller coaster we feel the rush of life. We make a slow and scary ascent and then feel the incredible rush of the speed and excitement as we come back down. We throw our hands up in exuberance and tremble in fear. On a roller coaster we experience the gamete of life's emotions and thus we feel incredibly alive. I am sure if there was a ride where you just went really fast on a flat plane you could get on with very little wait.

Last week I experienced the high of seeing my son come into the world. The joy of new life and the thrill of giving him a name and a brit milah. At the same time I experienced the sadness of a mother too weak to hold him and the pain in her face as sheet lay in a hospital where he could not go. My joy has not been tainted by the challenges since Matanya Yisrael's birth. On the contrary, the less than ideal realities of his first few weeks of life have only added depth and meaning to how lucky Aviva and I are to have him in our lives. The low gives new meaning to the high the pain adds depth to the joy.

Something tells me that even when we exit this particular ride there will be more to follow. Perhaps they will go even higher and perhaps they will descend even lower but the wild ride of life inevitably continues. So allow me to ask you a question: If G-d gave you a choice between the roller coaster and the tea cups – which would you choose? I say bring on coaster and the rush of feeling alive.

What do you think?

Binyamin – always looking for a good question

1 comment:

  1. what an amazing analogy! indeed, ups and downs *do* go hand in hand. whether we like it or not, whatever will be, will be. it's so hard to let go of that faux-control and realize that, though!

    in real life, i'm a teacup gal-- roller coasters scare the well, everything out of me! but in your metaphor i will revert back to a t-shirt slogan: if you're not living on the edge, go home! indeed, the thrills are worth it!

    congratulations on your little one!