Last Friday, I took a trip to Six Flags with some family. Katie didn't go. For some reason, she doesn't enjoy being whirled around high in the air at 70 mph. Whatever.
To say that the day was a scorcher would be an understatement. In fact, when we were waiting in line for The Scorcher, one girl in front of us almost passed out from heat exhaustion. (I don't quite believe that though. I think she chickened out of the ride.) By the end of our first coaster, our clothes were drenched in sweat. By the end of our second or third, we were seriously looking for a water ride.
It was past time for lunch, and our energy was draining fast, but we decided to get wet before we headed to our car to eat. We went to Thunder River. Two hour wait. We'd starve by then. We went to Splash Water Falls. An hour wait. So then we thought we'd just head for the bridge where all the water sprays up from the ride. Back in the day, you would get more wet from the bridge than from the actual ride. We stand on the bridge for like five minutes waiting for the next boat to send that wave up into our faces. Finally, one floats around the bend. Get ready, here it comes. The boat plunges downward. The wave rises up... and falls beneath our feet. Not a drop to cool our baking bodies.
So we decide to take the sky carts to the other side of the park where Six Flags has built a small water park. We're sure to get wet there. While we're in line, we begin to discuss how we might just be willing to shuck out $10 for a drink in the park, which only an hour before seemed ridiculous. I thought of Esau selling his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew. For once, I totally understood Esau. I told Katie's sister, "I won't need $10 if I'm dead." We're all suckers if we get hot and thirsty enough.
Once we reached the water park, we couldn't believe our eyes. There was water everywhere, and you didn't even have to wait in line! Imagine walking barefoot through the desert sand, mile after mile of blistering sun and parched tongue. Then you see an oasis just ahead offering shade and water. That was us. And we were in heaven. We took off our shirts and shoes and ran to a tall pipe that gushed gallon upon gallon of cool water over our whole bodies. We stood there splashing and giggling like school children.
Call me a nerd, but that joy reminded me of Frodo and his friends as they reached the elven city of Rivendell in The Lord of the Rings. They had been traveling for so long. Frodo was attacked, and no one was sure if he would pull through. When he awoke after days of unconsciousness, the joy shared between that fellowship was so relieving and so refreshing.
I began to notice that these stories, Esau and Frodo, had found their way into my experiences that day, bringing understanding to both the stories and the present moment. I wasn't just famished, I experienced the famishing of Esau. I wasn't only joyous in that cold water, I was experiencing Frodo's joy. These stories helped shape my awareness of my own story.
What stories shape the way you see your life and experiences? Which ones find their way into your own story?