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The Father, The Mouse and The Holy Spirit

Submitted by Bonnie Sludikoff on October 11, 2010 – 10:55 amComments

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First Time on Space Mountain

I’m an emotional creature. (Hold your gasps of surprise, please.) Though this trait has never been much of a secret, I’ve spent the last several years doing everything in my power to prove otherwise. Not surprisingly, those are the two things I’ve lost in the process- power, and time.

I was not looking forward to my birthday this year. More than anything, I just wanted to turn the clock back several years and get back the early 20s I always pictured myself having-  The 20s that have played out like several rounds of hide and seek where no matter how obvious of a hiding place I’ve chosen, no one seemed to be looking.

As my last moments of 27 ticked away, I could feel the unresolved tension of my year simmering and my defenses kicking in as someone brought up an unwelcome topic that I was close to dodging. But as I’m learning about having friends who aren’t just in it for the fair weather, they saw this too.

And so it was, that I spent the first four hours of my 28th year condensing half a lifetime of things I’d never gotten around to talking about into a conversation where, several times, I lost my fight to stay composed. Where I realized I was most authentic at my least composed. Where two of my most trusted friends rolled up their jeans to wade with me instead of throwing me a life-saver and hoping for the best. Where it didn’t matter that the subject matter was probably uncomfortable for all parties or that we were being hit by sprinklers at four in the morning.

In a seemingly unrelated, but entirely intertwined story, I went to Disneyland for my birthday two days later. I knew it’d be a fun day, but, particularly after all the emotions still floating around from the marathon conversation, I didn’t expect to be in the best place, even at the Happiest Place on Earth.

Throwing expectations out the window, I caught myself saying “Yes, I will at least consider going on Space Mountain,” though I could barely make the statement without scoffing. I mean, imagine me- 28 years old and terrified of roller coasters- dreading the gentle splash of Pirates of the Caribbean and seriously considering one of the biggest thrill rides in the park. That’s just silly.

But sometimes being willing to consider a new idea enables us to take that plunge- whether figurative or literal. And so, in a split second decision, at the end of the hour –long wait, I climbed into the Space Mountain cart with my friends instead of sheepishly tiptoeing over to the exit as planned.

It wasn’t until I’d survived the ride that I realized I’d done more than that. Despite a few moments of being overwhelmed and holding onto my friend’s hand for dear life, I’d actually had fun. Among several crash course lessons in my 28th year, I find myself face to face with the realization that a lot of my time, thus far, has been wasted on just trying to survive. It is what it is- and it needed to be that way. But the thing about that mode is- if all you learn is how to survive, that’s all you’ll ever do.

I felt both haunted and inspired by this idea as I enjoyed a totally different kind of Disneyland Day- which capped off with my first viewing of the new-ish attraction, World of Color.  We caught the show from the very front row, smack dab in the middle of the “you will get wet” zone- surrounded by several other patrons- armed with ponchos and jackets. Soon the show began, and my thoughts that our choice of viewing area might not be ideal were blinded, soaked and doused in Disney magic.

I practically lost my breath when I first saw the hundreds of lights, and as I heard the music for “So Close” I could feel warm tears pouring out of my eyes, emptying several emotions that were washed away by an ongoing mist from the fountains right in front of me. Cold, wet and emotionally exhausted, I walked away from World of Color feeling like I’d been baptized by the Father, the Mouse and the Holy Spirit. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

If the beginning of my year is any indication of what’s to come, I have to admit, I’m pretty scared, but I can’t ask for much more than having friends to hold my hand through the scariest times and the certain knowledge that sometimes what looks like a plunge into the darkness can turn out to be a fun ride.

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  • Tiffany
    Absolutely inspiring! You are a strong beautiful person, who deserves to take the plunge, and to come out laughing! Welcome to your life Bonnie, its been waiting for you!
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