Friday, October 2

Corn Mazes and Claustrophobia

Several years ago, back in 2001, I was the main youth leader for the middle school grades. Come October, I thought it would be cool to take those munchkins to a corn maze...a fun fall experience, right???? I was excited about this because it was something I had wanted to do for a couple years and brilliantly thought of it in order provide the youth an outing.

The night was cool and dark. The sun had set and I believe it had rained for a day or two prior to going however, our night was rain-free. The previous rain had turned the huge corn field into a muddy abyss, for which I was prepared for. When we got there, I set the youth free, enabling them to run into the maze with their friends, with only one instruction, "Be back at the van at 8:30pm so that we can leave." With expected youthful energy, they ran off. Gaily, I followed, excited and eager to start.

I walked and walked, turning this way and that way. I came to the first look-out station. There were two look-out stations: wooden walk-ways that were elevated above the fields so that you can see where you are and where you want to go. I was feeling confident. I walked and walked again...a little bit longer, getting turned around and finding a dead-end or two. No worries. I eventually found the second station.'s all good.

From there, my night began to unravel. I walked and walked...finding myself in spots I had already been. I was confident I had traveled down one way so I would go the other way, only to end up exactly where I was before. I was in one area for about 15 minutes...stuck....unable to find my way out. No need to calm...simple phrases became my mantras. I eventually moved on from that location but found myself continually turned around, stuck, and finding more dead-ends every which way I turned. Time was ticking...I should be at the van already but I was at the far end of the maze still needing to complete it.

I couldn't seem to find my way out, which was frustrating me and bringing feelings of claustrophobia, feelings I don't normally experience. My anxiety shot up quickly and I'm sure my blood pressure would have caused some medical alarms to go off. I was sweating, fearful, tired, cold, and close to crying. I kept moving thinking that I would eventually get out. This should not be happening to me...I'm the leader after all. There were a couple times where I was so close to just plowing through the stocks, even if I damaged the maze in the process. I couldn't handle it much longer. However, I eventually found my way out, although I have no idea how.

Obediently, ALL the youth were waiting at the van...not one was missing. They had ALL been waiting for their lost leader for ONE HOUR!!!!!!! Yes, I was lost for one whole hour. Not a great leadership experience in my opinion. I have yet to return to a corn maze, so awful and terrifying was my previous experience....until tonight.

Tonight, I will be venturing out with another set of middle school youth. Lord help me...don't let me get lost please? PLEASE??

If you don't hear from me over the next few days, please call for back-up. You might just find me in fetal position, sucking my thumb, and crying for my mom, lost in the depths of the corn maze.

No comments: