2018 Olympic Update: I’m obsessed with the Olympics. While watching the bobsled last night I couldn’t believe last summer, I hurtled down a 103 foot vertical drop on the track from the 2002 Winter Olympics, in a tin-can-of-a-sled at ridiculous speed. Think– slapping on a helmet and driving a car the size of a bathtub down the highway at seventy miles an hour. And as for the ski jumpers–tubing down that huge drop from a seated position was terrifying enough, I can’t imagine zooming down on skis at sixty miles per hour. Just no…
(Repost below from July 2017)
Tamping anxiety down into my hip pocket,
I tried not to think about it,
How bad could it be?
If they let the public sign up it must be safe, though the list of health warnings on the ticketing site hung half a page long.
At our Park City, Utah writer’s conference, the Write Brilliant mantra was,
“The answer is always YES!”
We were encouraged to get out of our norm and find adventure during the afternoon breaks.
The thing that kept jumping out at me was the Olympic bobsled. Park City is an Olympic training center for downhill skiing and that crazy bobsled. All these stunning amenities were built for hosting the 2002 Winter Olympic games.
My new writing friend Jen and I were the only adventurers from our group that day. Grabbing our wrist bands, we spent the morning having the time of our lives on the ropes course, the A-Mazing fifty-five mile an hour zip line, and the crazy-fun-heart-in-your-throat inner tubing down the steep drop of the ski jumps.
Then it was time for our last event.
Time for the greatest thrill? Terror? Of all.
Strapping on our helmets we piled in after the professional bobsled driver. Squashed in the middle, I gripped the hand straps like no other and braced for the wicked descent.
The thill was real,
A sixty-second rush like no other,
Hurling seventy miles an hour down a mountain around vicious curves in a tin can sled.
And after the first twenty seconds, all I could think about was, “Is it almost over yet?”
Seventy miles and hour may not seem so bad. But picture yourself in a tiny narrow sled flying down the interstate with one hairpin turn after another with only a frail helmet to protect your skull. My head squeezed from the pressure like it was being compressed in a vise. And it felt like my neck was having a hard time keeping my head from flying off into the great blue yonder.
Now I know why they caution against those prone to neck problems and migraines. Oh and they forgot to mention preparation for bruising. Jerking from side to side as we rounded each corner with violent speed, my upper arms were thrown again and again into the “padded” sides of the sled.
Now with two feet planted on the terra firma,
I’m glad I said Yes.
Just so I can say I did it.
But don’t ask me to do it again.
Unless it’s like childbirth and you forget how painful it was and before you know it you are doing it all over again.
And I think of our life-walk.
The times when our hearts are squeezed in a vise and arrows of men pierce deep the soft tissue. Attacked and overloaded with fear and pain, our poor hearts feel as if they will burst.
And other times with too much piled on, we are so crazy stressed that we feel as if our head is spinning so hard it could pop off at any minute.
So here’s the secret sauce:
If we will take that sixty-seconds, close our eyes and breathe him deep instead of hurling pell-mell around one curve after the next, vulnerable and unprotected, he will cover us with a blanket of peace, warm and soft and comforting so we can face another day and another curve.
One day at a time.
And I spill with thankful.
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you, In God, whose word I praise—In God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Psalm 5:3-4