Theology

The Sacramentality of the Yo-Yo

Long has it been my unspoken tradition to end days at amusement parks and local carnivals with the Yo-Yo (also called the Wave Swinger). Since my childhood I’ve had an inexplicable affinity with this ride, spending countless hours soaring through the summer skies; eyes closed, feet extended before me, palms relaxed at my side with the cool breeze slipping through my fingers like silk. There’s something innately soothing about this child’s ride that allows me to slip easily into a two minute long contemplative space that causes me, still at thirty three, to run back into line as soon as I disembark.

The ritual is always the same; the lap bar is snapped in place and I close my eyes, patiently waiting for the other patrons to situate themselves. In those few moments my mind relaxes into a fallow state and I passively listen to the sounds of the park and people around me. Soon I hear the hydraulics of the machine begin to hum; I am gently lifted off the ground and sent spinning placidly among the treetops. Just like every ride since the first, I am flooded with a sense of peace and well being – I relax into the gentle rhythm of ride, the cool air tickling the skin of my eyelids and it is here that I feel, perhaps more profoundly than anywhere else, the presence of God. There are no bombastic revelations, no pillars of fire, no booming voices. There is only the wind’s caress, the smell of fried dough, the gentle rise and fall of the chair, and the unshakable knowing that I am there with God, held in the palm of his hand, lovingly adored.

Sacramentality is that which breaks through the mundane, opening our hearts to the presence of God and reminding us that God is impossibly beautiful and that we are infinitely loved. I submit – perhaps a little shyly – that my Yo-Yo is sacramental.

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