Life is like a roller coaster. When things go downhill, throw your hands in the air and smile!
Have you ever met someone whose life seems to be falling apart and they’re happy anyway? Have you ever thought, “Wait a minute, you’re supposed to be miserable and depressed!”
It’s true. There are some who are simply in denial, and who hope that the problems will go away if they just ignore them. However, there are others who feel happy even when things are going down because they know a secret.
These people can feel happy during a downturn because they know the ride never goes downhill forever. By law, it always turns upward again at the bottom – just like a roller coaster. They smile now because they’re focused on the longer term; and they’re already thinking about the joy and heights that life will take them to next.
Now, while we’re on this “roller coaster theme,” imagine you’ve saved for years to take your family to an exciting theme park on the other side of the country. You’ve pictured the laughter, the fun, the memories you plan to create: the joy of being together, the food, the free time; it’s all so very wonderful!
Now it’s finally time to take that trip. You enjoy a relaxing plane ride, settle in at the hotel, spend the night, and in the morning you have a full day to take in all of the theme park attractions. After entering the gate, you notice that just inside the entrance there are two roller coaster rides to choose from. The first one is called “Straight-Shot to Success” and goes like this:
You get on, and it pulls the line of cars all the way to the top of a twenty-story tower where ….
… it lets you off so you can climb down the stairs to do it again.
Look at the enthusiasm in this picture, just before unloading to climb down and repeat the experience all over again! (Wouldn’t it make for a pretty boring roller coaster ride? Yes. But isn’t that what we think we want out of life? A steady, predictable, safe and easy climb to success?) The thing is, if that’s what we got out of life, I think we’d feel pretty dissatisfied with the whole experience. Without the lows, the highs mean nothing.
So, let’s take a look at the second roller coaster ride called “Joy in the Journey,” which instead goes something like this:
You get on, and it pulls you to the top of a big hill and then turns you loose into a series of ups and downs, loops and turns. Everyone is terrified and laughing, all at the same time.
Even when the people plummet at break-neck speeds straight toward the ground, they have a smile on their face.
Now, is that twisted, or what? Are they in denial?
No. They are genuinely enjoying themselves, because they know that the terror is temporary, that the danger is an illusion, and that it will come to an end. They know that they are in a controlled, safe environment that is simply giving them the appearance of danger. Deep down, they know everything is going to be okay in the long run.
Which rollercoaster ride do you think would have the longest waiting line? “Straight-Shot to Success,” or “Joy in the Journey?”
I choose the latter. Here’s what helps me endure the scary parts:
Believe it or not, like a roller coaster ride, Life itself is a safe environment, even with all its dangers.
Contrary to appearances, it truly is a safe place to be. From God’s vantage point, the things we fear are nothing to Him, including death itself.
Do you realize that the life you live is precisely the life you would have chosen all along? THIS is the life that brings you the greatest joy: the life with all the ups and aggravating downs. So be grateful for your downs, and as you allow your heart to swell with gratitude, you’re putting yourself into the right mindset to receive next the best “ups” that God has to offer.
The ups and downs we experience help us feel.
The change from up to down (or down to up) is precisely what makes it possible for us to recognize the difference from one emotion to the other. Like I said before, without the downs, the ups would be meaningless. The lows help us feel and appreciate the highs.
Bob Proctor says, “Most people tiptoe through life, trying to make it safely to death.” Do you see the irony in that? Instead, we should have courage and press on toward our dreams with full, fearless intention.
As Mark Twain said, “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”
You have a choice of what to think about. So think on the expected highs that put a smile on your face, instead of worrying about the imagined train wreck at the bottom of the hill that hasn’t even happened yet.
It is only when your heart is at peace that it is truly prepared to receive inspired solutions to your problems.
So, if you’re headed in a downward direction, be at peace. The tracks are bent and will surely guide your roller coaster car up to the top again in time. It’s going to be thrilling! And in fact, according to the Law of Rhythm, you’re already on your way. Originally published Mar 12, 2008
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