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Funnel cakes, physics and faith

Life ... the ride none of us have mastered. We all have those times where we plan our days down to the minute, and then we find ourselves blocked by unexpected hurdles and stumbling blocks that completely change everything. They break our confidence, strip away our energy and frustrate us to no end.

A small example of this for me is school ...

My current endeavor in physics class right now is a Rube Goldberg machine: an apparatus built from random objects that cause a series of mechanical reactions to complete a task.

I was a little worried about the project when it started but my group was excited and bubbling over with possible ideas for our theme. After much deliberation, we decided to do a carnival! In our heads, we imagined roller coasters, games, food, animals and so many other exciting things! We sketched out possible steps, came up with cool ideas, and headed on our way. We were set.

But, as you can imagine, in a group of five girls, not everything fell so smoothly into place. From the start, our plans began crumbling beneath our feet.

Within the first week we had arguments about who was taking too much control, who wasn’t putting in enough effort, and whether our steps would even work to complete the task of hammering a nail.

At first the goal seemed simple, but all too quickly I was confronted with the reality that our task was more difficult than what first met the eye. Our last five steps up to the end were due the week after the project was assigned, so right off the bat, we were rushed to find ideas, supplies and a place to work. Our first few meetings together weren’t too successful, and we found ourselves already cracking under the pressure, as well as having a million other things to finish, and no extra patience to keep our sanity.

All of this came to fruition at our graded test runs the next week in class. Our machine basically failed at our fourth step ... we could get it to work occasionally with a little luck, but no where near consistently. On top of that, we got so caught up in the steps that we forgot to put the nail at the end ... so our hammer fell onto nothing ... Let’s just say we barely passed that first day in the grade book.

Now we’ve moved on to the next steps of the project, and although it hasn’t been a smooth ride, we haven’t given up yet no matter how much we sometimes want to. It’s a grade. It’s life. You pick yourself up and move on.

Just like anything in life, usually things don’t turn out as planned. Sometimes they’re better, sometimes worse, but in the end those challenges usually teach us a few lessons and make us into stronger people.

We thought our project was planned and set for success, but so far, we’ve hit many hitches that have made us reconsider. In my life as a whole, I’ve tried to plan everything to make my way easy, but that’s not how it works. If everything was meant to be easy and foreseen, it would be boring and meaningless! We face those challenges to help us grow and form into the best people we can be.

Through it all I’ve learned that I need to trust God majorly. Without him I would be so lost and desolate by now. There isn’t much hope in an unpredictable, sin-filled world, but with faith we can rest our hopes and dreams in a higher power.

And then there’s that end goal. In physics it’s hammering a nail. What is it in life? I think that’s what gets so many people down; the fact that they don’t see a purpose in life or a reason to keep pushing on. I don’t know what lies ahead for me, but I know that God has plans far better than mine. I also know that my life purpose is to serve him and everyone around me. There is nothing else more important.

Now, I’m not saying that we should just wing our physics project and pray that God will make the hammer hit the nail flawlessly! But what I mean is that if we put our best efforts forth and have faith that God is in control, we really can do anything. The pathway may include several challenges, but it is possible. With faith, all things are possible.

At the end of all our struggles and hard work, those exhilarating coasters, mouth-watering funnel cakes, and fun-loving bumper cars are just waiting for us to enjoy!

Danae Ross, 17, of Wyanet is a senior at Bureau Valley High School She can be reached at diamondspride30@yahoo.com.

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