Picture that day with me.  It’s been nineteen or twenty years, so I have to squint the eye of my memory to see that far back.  This kid had my heart from the day they handed him to me.  Dirty blonde hair, chubby cheeks and eyes that are fathomless ocean blue.  He was a few weeks old the first time he smiled at me.  One corner of his mouth rose forming a mischievous half smile before the other side joined in.  Our Isaac is well named.  He makes us laugh a lot.  

That day he was probably three and we were spending the afternoon with the cousins at Centreville, a tiny amusement park on Toronto’s Centre Island.  Isaac is younger than his cousins by several years and was eager to prove he could keep up with them.  He had ridden the bumble bees with Joe and driven the antique cars with Meagan. Now the ferris wheel was beckoning.  Those were the good old days before, at about 9 years old, he shot past my height.  He was still too short to ride without an adult, so I lined up with him.   We slid into our little bench, and I pulled the bar in front of us.  I’m not sure what that bar’s purpose was, but if it was intended to contain a wiggling 3 year old, it had no chance.  The ferris wheel was all of 25 feet high at most, but I was subtly assessing my best grip in case he decided to make a break for it mid-spin.  Turns out, that was unnecessary.  As the wheel began to raise us forward and upward to load the next chair, he became quite still.  I noticed excitement turning to concern as the next chair also loaded.  I leaned over to reassure him, “Isn’t this fun Bud? You’re very brave!”  

He looked at me a little skeptically. 

My confidence must have bolstered his own at least a little, because he looked at me and repeated, “I’m very brave.”  Our little bench rose once more as loading continued.  

“I’m very brave,” he said, a little louder this time. The tremor in his voice belied his declaration.

Nearing the top, he began to chant to himself, “I’m very brave.  I’m very brave. I’m very brave.” I tightened my grip around his little shoulder in an attempt to assure him.  We crested the top and began to descend backwards. 

At that moment, all pretense of composure was abandoned.  He wrapped his arms tight around me announcing in a panicked voice, “I’m braver with Daddy!”

I’m happy to report that with each revolution of the wheel, his grip loosened and after a hug from daddy on the ground, he declared the ride “fun” but opted not to repeat it.  

I love to think back on that day, mostly to remember a time when I towered over my now enormous son.  But it also makes me smile at the self-awareness of a toddler and how fully I can relate. Don’t misunderstand me.  I am no weakling.  I have been around a few blocks, and some of them were in rough neighbourhoods. I’m getting pretty good at handling hard stuff. But when I find myself plummeting backwards unexpectedly, I become acutely conscious of an urgent need for my Heavenly Father.  Like my Isaac, I too am braver with “Daddy”.

But here’s why I’m bringing this up. I’ve been thinking.  I’m also smarter with “Daddy.”  I’m safer with “Daddy.”  I’m stronger with “Daddy.”  I’m kinder. Pretty much every aspect of my life is better with “Daddy.”  So why not just get on the ferris wheel with “Daddy?” Why wait until I am plummeting backwards and then start grasping for him?

For me, getting on the ferris wheel with Daddy can take a lot of different forms.  Probably the most basic is having a daily time in his presence, reading his word, listening for what he is saying in it.  But it’s not just daily devos.  When I read some angry commentary or some awful news item, I can spiral down the comments section, or I can filter it through a godly lens.  In some cases, the Philippians 4:8 lens is all I need.  Is this true, right, noble, pure, lovely, excellent, praiseworthy? No? Then I’m not even going to focus on it.  

But what if it’s important, something that I can’t ignore?  Then I can ask God to show me if I need to respond in some way.  I can remind myself that God is not surprised, and this event has not derailed his plans.  In some cases, I need to grab hold of Romans 8:28 and know that whatever happens, God has promised to work for the good of those who love him.  I can know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I have never, nor will ever, plummet uncontrollably backwards because God has never for a second lost hold of me.

Where am I going with this? Here’s the bottom line for me:  I just want to live the kind of life that people watch and say, “Of course she’s brave.  She’s always with her dad.”  

2 thoughts on “Ferris wheels and being braver with Daddy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>