It’s interesting what childhood memories we retain. Our family lived about ten-miles from Seabreeze Amusement Park near the shores of Lake Ontario and we usually took a trip there once or twice each summer to enjoy the rides.
I started out with the slow-moving kiddie rides, but graduated to the more adventurous rides as I got older. One of the first grown-up rides I braved was the Tilt-A-Whirl. In that ride, a circular, segmented platform rotates over an “undulating” (i.e., having a smoothly rising and falling form or outline) track. Seven individual cars bolted to the platform each spins on its own circular track. As the platform rotates, the passengers in each car can shift their position to synchronize the motion of the car with the indulations of the moving platform to achieve a rapid, spinning motion.
On the occasion of my first time on the Tilt-A-Whirl, I nervously stood in line with my older sisters as we waited for our turn. The ride’s noisy, mechanical movements and the loud squeals of the passengers were thrilling as well as intimidating. We slowly advanced up the steps to the ride’s platform and when the attendant lifted the metal chain we scrambled to claim our car. We all grasped the handlebar as the platform began to turn. My sisters were “old hands” at this ride and began to shift their weight to sync the car’s rotation with the ups and downs of the moving platform. Before I knew what was happening, our car was spinning like a top! As the car spun faster and faster, I felt the increasing centrifugal force. It was scary, unlike anything I had ever experienced before. I hung onto the handlebar with a death grip, but felt my strength quickly ebbing. Why did I ever agree to go on this dangerous contraption?!?!?! I must have been a sight, like a frightened wild animal caught in a trap. One of my sisters could see my panic and leaned over and advised me to just relax and lean back into the padded wall of the car. Huh? I took her advice, loosening my death grip, and just went with the spin. Ah! Much better. This Tilt-A-Whirl experience was fun after all! Let’s go again!
Every once in awhile, I think about that moment when I had a panicky death-grip on the Tilt-A-Whirl handlebar and then relaxing and being able to enjoy what the ride was designed to do. There’s a spiritual analogy there about struggling to do things in my own power, and then surrendering to the Lord and His power and will. Ah, what a wonderful feeling it is to relinquish control, which I never really had in the first place, and submit to God. How about you? Are fretting and hanging on tightly, trying to control circumstances that are really outside of your control?
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” – Psalms 28:7
“When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.” – Psalm 34:17
Postscript: The Tilt-A-Whirl was invented by Herbert Sellner back in 1926 in the basement of his Faribault, Minnesota home.