As a kid, like a lot of us, I rode an amusement park log ride. I remember gently rocking past scenic waterfall and stone displays during its route. I was lulled into a sense of uneventful security.
Merrily, merrily, this ride seemed to be a dream. But, as the serene ride continued, it became a bit more bizarre.
To this day, I’m still not sure about what I saw in one of the caves. As I was taking everything in, there was an unusual placement of a small stuffed dragon, with spring loaded eyes, googly greeting us log riders. To my knowledge, it was not a science fiction or fairytale theme kind of ride. I don’t know if it was an inside joke, a bored amusement park employee’s prank or if there was a deeper meaning to its presence.
But, rest assured, as only my little over-analytical mind could do, I obsessed. The why question wanted to know. Why, in a wet log ride, was there the impractical choice to display a mold-and mildew-prone fabric toy? Why was it a dragon? Why wasn’t it a fish or some more appropriate water-friendly critter? Why were its eyes all springy and googly? Why was it in the cave?
Just what, in tarnation, was going on here?
As these questions filled my eight-year-old mind, we reached the very top of the ride- to the drop off point. I had become so focused on that stuffed dragon, this part of the ride had escaped my mind entirely.
That was, however, until I felt the intense G-force, the speed and the splashing of the water, once we landed.
Years’ later, I cannot but help make the weird association with this dragon log ride and the scripture which cautions us about the old log- in- the- eye truth…
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5
Translation here? “Mind your own business.”
Indeed, in my own amusement park scenario, it occurred to me just how obsessed I was.
I was meddling. So preoccupied with all of the possible explanations for a stuffed dragon’s reality, I missed out on the majority of the log ride itself. No, I could not explain, let alone, control anything and everything attached to that dragon. I couldn’t take it, throw it in the water or destroy it. It existed and there was nothing I could do about that.
It challenges us all in our lives, in our hypocrisy and recovery-themed issues, doesn’t it?
We don’t know…
…the back story…
…the reasons why…
…the pain associated…
…someone else’s reality…
We don’t know.
“And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11
And, to get so wrapped up in judging someone else’s situation, especially if it involves a personally devastating plummet, defeats our own recovery. It hinders the attention we need to give to our issues. It prevents us from doing our work.
What is the “distraction dragon” which stops us from dealing with ourselves? Is it the reassuring luxury of reality television? Is it the glee we obtain when we blood sport judge someone who is “so much worse” than we could ever be?
Is it the excuse of being busy (as in busybody), believing we’re “helping,” when, in reality, no one even asked for our help, let alone, our opinion?
Are we so consumed with our dragons, that we miss the entire point of the ride?
We are mindless in this regard. And, therefore, if we are this mindless, how could we ever expect to achieve the health and prosperity which comes from the hard, personal inventory of “minding our own business?”
What are our lives about: out of place dragon “specks” or true work concerning our ugly, difficult “log-in-the-eye” rides? What we see plays a huge role, indeed, in eventually, what we will become.
Caution fellow ride goers: there’s a drop off a-coming.
“The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.” Proverbs 27:12