Roller Coasters or Carousels?

Metallic in, gel pen and bleach on Card Stock – Words: Henry Van Dyke

Life can feel like a roller coaster, bouncing us around as we work, play and live through each day of the week. Appointments, commitments, obligations, goals, to do items, dreams and aspirations…they all follow us around like a new puppy, demanding attention. How do you jump from one element of life into another without feeling like the hills of the ride are too steep or the curves will throw you into the nearest wall? And yet it is thrilling, exciting, and keeps us on our toes just riding the ride. Even if we have taken the roller coaster into each week, it still thrills us and makes our heart race. 

But not everyone likes roller coasters. Some people prefer the carousel. It’s magical music and glitter, colorful horses and carriages, twinkling lights and consistent route around and around the same circle until the ride ends. You know what you will get, and if you want to change you simply get up while the ride is moving change seats or quickly jump off. When you ride the ride often enough, you know exactly how to do it and actually become good at moving around while the colorful circle spins. 

For some of us the challenge is being forced to ride the ride we do not like. The bumps and turns, thrills and screams of the roller coaster can overwhelm us when what we want is the consistency of the carousel. The thrill can be more than we have the energy to endure. Or the predictable circles of the carousel with it’s colors, music, comfy seats may seem dull when what we crave is the thrill of the roller coaster. It would be great if life were either one or the other all the time, and yet we all know it is not. In an instant life changes and we are suddenly forced onto the ride we were not expecting, feeling unprepared and overwhelmed by the newness of it all. Whew! Can I get off the ride now? 

Let me encourage you, life does change quickly and somehow it changes again before we know it. Feeling overwhelmed by our current circumstances is normal, it does not mean we are incapable or less than. It means we are living life and life is happening, spinning out of control without our approval or acceptance. That’s life…as frustrating and exciting as it is, ALL of us feel overwhelmed at one time or another. The good news is that you are alive and breathing and that means you have the opportunity to work through it all and end up better, stronger, wiser than you were yesterday. So take whatever ride you are on right now, ride it with gusto, know that soon it will change. 

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