Sensory Overload

We just returned from our first visit to a local amusement park. After Tuesdays’ adventures we were a bit hesitant, but since we were given tickets as a Christmas gift, and they were only good for the current season, we decided we better try it before they expire. We were pretty sure that the twins would have a blast, but Sketch was the big question mark.

Once we were in the middle of the park, with rides in action all around us, Sketch became quite panicked. He was completely overwhelmed at all the flying objects around him. I could almost hear his thoughts through his expression of sheer terror and hands covering his ears (and as much of his head as possible), “Mommy! Watch out! The trains are flying though the air! What is going on? It is going to get us! Come over here, Mommy! It isn’t safe! That awful noise is too loud! What does it mean? I think it means danger. Mommy, come! Now!”

And for a little 5 year old boy who has never seen anything like a roller coaster, or any other amusement park rides, it was pretty overwhelming. I mean, why wouldn’t that coaster fly off the tracks suspended in figure 8’s high in the sky? How is he supposed to know that the coaster is attached to the tracks? How can he understand the laws of physics that are at work, or the engineering done to make it safe? For most kids, they probably just take it for granted, that the coaster is “stuck” to the tracks and that it is safe.

Needless to say, Sketch did not go on the roller coaster. But, he did go on some of the kiddie rides. His first was a little contraption somewhat like a merry-go-round that was disguised as whales swimming in the water. Princess Buttercup had the honor of sitting with Sketch on his very first ride. Sketch was in front of the whale car and Princess Buttercup was in the back seat of the same one. The ride began, and the whales spun in a circle (relatively slowly) around and around. For more than half the ride, Sketch didn’t look so good…he was looking..a bit… woozy? He called for me as he went around, I could see his lips form the word, “Mommy?” as he looked at me outside the gate.

He was very brave though. He walked in the gate with Princess Buttercup and didn’t require me to come with him, although he obviously preferred it. The ride seemed to last forever for Sketch. Toward the end of the ride he seemed to be getting comfortable with it and started signing to himself and singing songs. He even smiled. Then the ride was over. Sketch came out and wanted to go again! We showed him another ride where the kids could sit in a gigantic tea cup and spin in tight circles like a sit-n-spin, as the contraption moved around like a merry-go-round. Sketch got on with Dash & Princess Buttercup and the twins made sure to maximize the spin-factor… But, Sketch handled it well and wanted to ride it again!

I think over all, he decided that this new scary stuff is actually more fun than scary. Trying new things is not what Sketch is known for. But his curiosity and those colorful, fun-looking, lit up rides convinced him to try it. What was initially a complete sensory overload became a huge blessing for him. At the end of the day, he was not too happy to leave the park behind in exchange for his well-known bed.

Sometimes God has something new for us, and it looks overwhelming. Unsafe, even. We may find ourselves thinking, “We might get hurt if we do that!” We don’t understand how it all works, but God has it all planned out. Once we step out in faith, and get on the ride, we discover a treasure we never would have known about. A treasure we now cannot imagine living without. Often stepping into the unknown involves vulnerability. We may not fear flying off the coaster tracks, but fear being hurt emotionally by other people. But stepping out and experiencing that treasure of relationships, by serving and loving others like Jesus did, opens the door to a whole different perspective on the world that we won’t want to exchange for the way things have been, in the safety of our routine. It is a sensory overload experience that turns into a blessing we will never forget.

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2 Comments

  1. fiona2107 said,

    August 30, 2010 at 4:43 AM

    WOW!
    So proud of you guys for making such a possibly daunting day out such a success.
    God is so good!
    I absolutely LOVE how you relate all of your posts to the scriptures and I really love your blog.
    Thank you- You’re a real blessing 🙂
    Fi

  2. Merri Lewis said,

    August 30, 2010 at 7:21 AM

    Thank you Fi!


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