We just went to Disneyland.
It was a pretty quick decision. Ben and I essentially were tired of being in Oregon. Not forever, mind you. Just for now. I was starting to go stir crazy and he hadn’t taken a single day off since starting his new job last fall.
It was time to go play.
So within two weeks of deciding to go, we were on a plane to Disneyland.
But before I get to my point, a little history: I’m unhealthily obsessed with the place. Not just Disney in general, but the culture of Disneyland, the history of Disneyland, the random facts of Disneyland, their business strategies, all of it. Ben barely used the map we got at the park entrance. He just asked me whenever he didn’t know where something was.
And I pretty much knew it all. In fact, when we sat down in the little exhibit hall on Main Street and watched the Steve Martin hosted Disney history documentary, he basically repeated stuff that I had already told Ben.
But there’s another reason I really love Disneyland and California Adventure.
Brace yourself: it’s mushy. A mushy, smooshy, barfy reason.
It was during a trip to these parks that I decided I needed to tell Ben how I felt about him. I don’t think I knew it at the time, but I was already in love with him. We had a history before then, of course – a long friendship, and a few dates. But I had told him I wanted to be friends, and he took that to heart. Which meant that, if I ever wanted anything to happen in the future, it had to start with me.
So that’s what I was pondering in 2009 as I stood in front of The Hollywood Tower Hotel with a group of friends from Oregon.
For those of you who don’t know, The Tower (of Terror, that is) is a Twilight Zone themed ride that takes you up in a “service elevator,” then plunges you into darkness as you scream in, well, terror.
I hate heights.
But everyone wanted to go on that ride. Abbey, Andy, Jason, Steve, Micah. Just not me – I’d been on it before, with my brother. He convinced me it would be fun, and immediately regretted it as I involuntarily crushed every bone in his hand when the ride started. I even remember him screaming at me to let go. (In annoyance or pain, I’m not sure. Maybe both?)
Anyway, the point is, I wasn’t really ready for a repeat trip. But I did it anyway.
I know you’re probably waiting for some metaphor about faith and taking the plunge. Well yeah, that came into play. But that’s not what got me back on the elevator.
It was food.
Jason promised he’d pay for my dinner at Blue Bayou later if I rode the Tower of Terror. So I decided, sure, that’s worth the risk of sudden, certainly painful death at the bottom of an elevator shaft.
But when we got into the very realistic, very scary boiler room where the service elevators awaited us (complete with creepy bellhops), I was regretting my decision. I was regretting it even more as I strapped myself into my seat. And even more as the elevator rose slowly toward the top of the building.
And then something happened that I wasn’t expecting (nerd interlude – that was almost like one of the first lines in Lord of the Rings – I swear I heard Cate Blanchett’s voice in my head just now): I threw up my hands decided to enjoy the ride.
My first time through I had decided not to, but this time was different. And I loved it.
So much so that I dragged people back on it with me over and over. I think everyone else was sick of it by the time we left.
For everyone else, it was just a fun ride. But for me, it meant something different: I needed to just stop being afraid of all the things that could go wrong in a relationship, and just allow myself to be in one – and to enjoy it. Fear had paralyzed me.
So I decided I was tired of being paralyzed, and I took that step.
And here we were, three years later, married, and ready to go on the Tower of Terror again. Together. Aw. (Everyone together: barrrrrrrrrrrf. Okay, feel better now?)
Proof positive that God can use just about anything to teach a lesson. I had to learn mine from plunging down an elevator shaft.
I guess what I’m trying to say overall is that taking a leap of faith doesn’t just mean taking the step. It means taking the step, committing to it, and deciding to enjoy it.
My first trip in the elevator, I had taken the step, but I was scared and didn’t let go of that fear the whole ride. The entire process was horrible.
The second time, I took the step, and I let go and had fun with it. The process from beginning to end was fantastic.
Take the leap of faith and stop being afraid. Just get in motion and trust that God will direct you.
Also, go to Disneyland.
Seriously. They have Starbucks now and everything.