For Believers and Good Vibers: Doors and Harnesses

Thanks again for your prayers and support. Amy and I and Stacemom (Amy’s mom) got to spend the day at Disneyland. It’s a place that Amy and I enjoy very much (Amy just isn’t a huge fan of the ferris wheel as you can view in this video).

Amy’s experience on that ferris wheel is a good metaphor for the difficulty of riding faith through trials.

Day 2 (For Believers):

Trials. Trials. Trials. There’s that stupid word again (3 times in a row even). The Bible says I should consider trials “pure joy”. In fact here’s that in”famous” passage from James:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.  Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position.  But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower.  For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

Humility has been the biggest virtue for me to hold on to through this period and through out my life thus far and (referencing the previous post) it has taken courage for me to have chosen to put stake in that virtue. In college, I worked as a ropes course (obstacle course in the trees) facilitator and one of the things when it came to taking newcomers up in the trees was to remind them that, with their harnesses on, they were actually safer in the trees than they were on the ground. This idea that we feel more scared in truly safer situations like the ferris wheel and ropes course is called “perceived risk”. It feels scarier than it actually is because we’re experiencing sensations that are not normal to our everyday existence (in other words, we’re used to gravity pushing against us as we walk around the ground and being off that ground isn’t normal so we become scared). Prior to filming the video of Amy, the child that joined us on the ride with his mother, said, “Why do they close the doors?” and if you can catch it in the video, when we start swinging he says, “That’s why they close the doors.” The child reminded me about what is important to remember about faith and trials. No matter how hard it may seem, when we accept humility (knowing that we can control very little in our life) and choose faith, there will always be doors and harnesses at our disposal. Our fears ultimately come from a “perceived risk”.

The verse, “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” is not a condemnation in anyway, it’s simply a reminder that you have a harness (or doors) to keep you safe when you step out in hope and faith, and that is essential to remember when facing trials. The more you gain perseverance through trials, the more you’ll know that that harness is there, and the more in tune you’ll be with yourself and God (and you’ll be able to start doing cartwheels on a balance beam in the trees like I did).

One more thing to add, I say this especially to parents that like to take on the burden of responsibility for others head on (I’m definitely one of those people and I’m not even a parent…yet). I urge you to take the James passage to heart because facing trials is the one area in your life where you get to be selfish. You get to be selfish because Christ was already selfless for you. The trials you face belong to you (as well as the perseverance you gain) and nobody else. What you can praise God for is that he never abandons you. He is your harness and I’m certain he has blessed you with loved ones that help reassure you that you are safe no matter the risk. What I ask that you pray for me today is for the humility to let go of the responsibility I take on that frankly is too big for me to carry at this time. I’m grateful for those that remind me that my main responsibility is to get better. I’m not worried about forgetting that because I have a top of the line kick ass harness.

Day 2 (For Good Vibers):

“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” ~ Walt Disney

At the newly refurbished Disney California Adventure, is the brand new land “Buena Vista Street”. It is meant to replicate the 1920’s Los Angeles that the man himself, Walt Disney, would have experienced when he first moved out West (broke and penniless after an animation studio he started in Kansas City failed) to pursue his dreams of starting a Hollywood Animation Studio. It was cool to be reminded that even the remarkable Walt Disney struggled for a long time. It’s hard to say if his “Laugh-o-Gram Studio” (the animation studio he had in Kansas CIty) hadn’t failed, we would ever have Mickey Mouse, Snow White, Ducktales (My personal favorite), or most importantly Disneyland. I’m sure when Disney had to fold up his studio and lay off his employees (many of which were his close friends) it felt like a kick to the teeth and his hope for he and his family’s future seemed grim. As you send good vibes my way, be reminded that you’ve gotten through some kicks in the teeth and you’re better off for it. You’re stronger, wiser, smarter, an way cooler than most people because of them. For me, I was also reminded that my whole journey with Brain Cancer started at St. Joseph’s Hospital which is on Buena Vista Street right across from Disney Animation Studios. Coincidence? I think not.

Thanks for being on my team,

Alex

Enjoy some pics from our Disney Trip:

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