This summer, I took my daughters to our local beach boardwalk. The most wonderful part of this boardwalk is the vintage carousel that sits at the opening of the park. As part of the attraction, riders are able to grab a metal ring off of a metal sleeve from the wall and try their aim and luck at throwing this ring into a clown’s mouth painted onto the wall of the building. When you do make it into the mouth of the clown, which is no easy feat, there is music and lights and great celebration by the thrower and everyone around them.
I blame the multiple rides, the ocean view or maybe that everything seems to have a way to hit me profoundly, but while on this ride, I thought about how much this simple childhood pastime so directly illustrates our life. We hop on the ride, select which horse will carry us, travel up and down, slowly only at first as the ride begins to move. Once the ride is at full speed, the metal rings roll down the metal sleeve and,if we’re lucky enough to grab one of them, we have a chance to take a shot at something that is incredibly hard to attain but holds a payoff worthy of our efforts. As the ride slows down, the metal rings do too. The chances to take our shots are no longer available.
I was so moved the many times I rode this ride today. How often in our life are we unsure about even getting on the ride in the first place? How many of us don’t even buy the ticket? Or how many of us get on the ride but never even reach for the chance to make the shot by grabbing that metal ring? And I think there are times in our lives where we stand to the side and watch others have fun. The spectators who were watching today had huge smiles on their faces. There are times in our life when it’s OK for us not to hop on the ride. We must know ourselves well enough to make the best choice for our heart. Watching the shot takes, the spectator learns pattern, timing, most effective horse choice. Never judge the spectator, they might just be researching to make the best shot of the day.
Hop on, take the shot or watch others take their shots, but choose what is right for you. There is power in every position.
Sometimes we get on the carousel and we sit on the bench because we don’t want to take the shot but were brave enough to get on. Celebrate that you made it on the ride. And then, there are the other times, the strong times, the prepared times, you reach for the metal ring, throw the ring at the clown and make it. The lights ring for YOU. The music plays for YOU.
We can become so afraid after a loss to reach out to people, or try something new that we find our life ends up feeling monotonous, routine and exhausting.
Honor what place is best for you given where you find yourself today. But remember…there is power in every position. Own the position you choose. Be proud of it knowing it was the very best place for YOU to be today.
Which life shots have you taken since you started your next chapter of life? How have you helped others feel strong enough to get back on that horse in their life? Have you stood next to someone who needed to sit off the ride? Share your story with all of us to help us all have the courage to choose what is best for ourselves and to be proud of that very choice.
Sending you big love!
Love and Blessings,