Monday Musing: Moments of Amusement
As you may be aware, my family and I returned from vacation a couple weeks ago. We ventured back to Iowa (a top ten vacation hot spot!) to see family and friends we hadn’t been able to see prior to moving to Indiana. It was a spectacularly meaningful gift for our family of three to get that length and quality of time together, and I thank you all for providing the space and encouragement for me to be away.
One of our great excursions was a day at Adventureland, an amusement park located in central Iowa. It was there that Martin and I clearly saw our four-year-old blossom. He wasn’t satisfied going on the “kiddie” rides all day (though he certainly took more than a spin or two on the array of vehicles that go around and around); he wanted to ride a roller coaster. We had just gotten off a water rider (where he had leapt into my mother’s lap on the first big turn having overconfidently sat on his own to start with) when he saw the wooden rollercoaster “The Outlaw” towering above us. He pointed up and said, “I want to ride that one, Mama.” I took him over to the “you must be this tall to ride” sign, and he made the cut, so up the ramp we went. Once we were buckled in and our safety bar had come down, the operator directed us to scream loudly and put our hands up. To my surprise, Jabali’s hands shot right up above his head! And, off we went…up, up, up, up and then dooooooown, twist and turn, up and down, jerked from one side to the other. About halfway through, I realized Jabali’s seatbelt hadn’t been tightened as well as it should have been, and with each twist and turn up and down, he was sliding down bit by bit. I reached over and held him as best I could to keep him sitting upright as the zigs and zags continued. As we pulled into the loading/unloading station, I anticipated Jabali would want to be done with “The Outlaw” having not felt safe and secure in his seat, but to my amazement, he turned to me and said, “I wanna do it again.” And, so we did…with a tightly fastened seatbelt.
As I live my life each day and engage with the world, I see so much hurt, so much harm, so much pain. I see need and work all around us. Yet, there are also these glimpses, these experiences of growth, of joy, of amusement. It is taking notice of them that fuels me, that inspires me, that empowers me to not simply give in and give up because the weight of the world is so heavy and the work without end. It is giving thanks for moments such as this and so many others that keeps me going.
What moments of joy inspire you to keep working to transform this world into one of love, justice, and peace? I’d love to hear what fuels your fire.
Rev. Jessica Petersen-Mutai, Senior Minister