The Kiddie Roundabout and …

A busker playing at Pike Place Market in June 2008

Yesterday in my town it was the Frost Fair.  Not that it was frosty – in fact it was sunny and unseasonably mild, so that the street performer singing beautiful carols seemed less in tune with the event than the guitarist doing a cover of the Kink’s Lazy Sunday Afternoon. (He was singing ‘sunny’ instead, given that it was a Saturday.)

At the top of the town were the children’s rides.  There was a small kiddie merry-go-round with Thomas the Tank Engine, motor bikes, horses and so forth.  One lone toddler was riding on this as we passed, clearly finding its modest speed and motion quite exciting enough at her tender age.

The other ride was one of those hand-cranked affairs where children sit on swing seats attached by chains which swing out as the handle is turned – a scaled-down version of the one shown here.  This one was filled with excited little people.
“FasTER! FasTER! FasTER!” they were chanting.
The operator obediently turned his handle for all he was worth and the children squealed with delight as they flew out over the watching families and friends.  Not for them the safe, slow roundabout.  They wanted danger and excitement.  One or two though, looked less certain.  Their eyes were wild and the smiles were fixed into grimaces.  Maybe they were having second thoughts …

I used this idea once to help a young girl who was experiencing some difficult times in her life.
“When we select the Life we want to live this time around,” I told her, “most of us (our eternal, soul selves) avoid the unadventurous kiddie roundabout and opt for the white-knuckle ride. That way there’s more experience, more challenge, more fun.”

The trouble is, when we’re actually taking part in the Life we’d so recklessly chosen for ourselves, the ride doesn’t always feel like fun.  The metal bars dig into us.  Our stomachs are heaving.  We feel sick and dizzy.  There are times when we’d quite like to slow down.  Too late for that, though; it’s careering out of control and we just have to hang on grimly and wait for the ride to stop.

Quite a few of my friends, including a few of my fellow WordPress bloggers, are currently going through some difficult, painful and frightening parts of their lives.  They are – all of them – wise and brave souls who understand the growth and experience the current problems are giving them, but that doesn’t make it easier to cope with, so I’m sending love and care to each of them, and to anyone else who shouted ‘fasTER, fasTER’ but is regretting it right at the moment.

The ride will slow down again in time, and you’ll be proud that you sat it out.