Right now it’s hard to imagine that I’ve ever actually paid money to be strapped in a seat that takes me swirling, climbing, plummeting, and spinning for about three minutes after standing in line for several hours.

My life seems to have enough emotional ups and downs to make these roller coaster rides seem kind-of boring!  And I’m not paying money or standing in line for the experience. 

This afternoon I’ve been sitting under a blanket trying to help Olivia recover from what she calls “the worst day of school ever.”

From a hurting ankle

to a stomach ache

to sitting in an assembly where the people around her were saying really bad words and she couldn’t move to another seat or sit with friends because of assigned seats

to realizing she made the wrong choice for activity time and ended up in a room with no one she knew, a sub who didn’t have the activity supplies, and a window where she could see her friends playing kickball and whiffle ball out the window

Olivia just had a “bad luck” day as she calls it.

I look at her face and I remember how frustrated I was last night when I sensed in her a spirit of pride and even a little “meanness” towards some of her friends, and my heart breaks realizing that life is just full of these teachable moments where one day we are hurting someone and the next day life is hurting us.

So, all I can do is pray.

Pray that Olivia remembers how it felt to be “alone” and always work to include those around her.

Pray that Olivia remembers how it felt to hear “bad words” and never be the one saying them.

Pray that Olivia learns that life isn’t always about her happiness….

Today, I’m realizing more and more that if we never had the down parts of our roller coaster of life we wouldn’t appreciate the up parts.

Father, thank you for the valleys even though they are not easy.  Help us embrace them so that we can savor the mountaintops.  Your plans are perfect.

In the name of Him who walked the deepest valley so that we wouldn’t have to, Amen