Did you know that there are about 3000 roller coasters worldwide, with nearly 400 million riders each year? Have you ever wondered why so many people love roller coasters? According to a study by Penn State University, it is a combination of the freedom to scream, the thrill, and the new and exciting experience.
Life is like a roller coaster. There are many ups and downs, sometimes it is slow and peaceful; other times are fast and crazy. Like a roller coaster ride, we take nothing with us in the end, except for our experiences and our stories.
Have you ever considered that every phase of life—the ups and downs, the smooth rides, the turmoil—is designed to enrich our experiences so that we can enjoy life just like a roller coaster ride?
Sadly, many people do not enjoy their lives. According to the CDC, suicide is a leading cause of death in the US. 48 thousand Americans committed suicide last year. In addition, about 13% of Americans are taking antidepressants and about 15% are battling with substance abuse.
How can we do better than that? Can we learn anything about life from the roller coaster ride?
According to a report prepared by the National Safety Council, the chances of sustaining a serious injury in a roller coaster ride is about 1 in 17 million. The chance of being hit by lightning is greater than 1 in 700,000. And the chance of getting injured in a car accident is even higher than that. The roller coaster is very safe. One of the keys factors is that the individual riders are always secured and guided safely through-out the ride. Because we know we are safe, we can then be excited about all the twists and turns of the ride.
In life, however, we often do not feel secure and have many worries. When a storm comes, we often panic. One of the keys to enjoying life is to have a secure guide. If we are secure, we can relax and explore life with great anticipation. Like a roller coaster ride, there are all sorts of emotions and experiences in life we can explore such as fear, anxiety, hope, love, thrill, excitement and much more.
As for me, Jesus is my guide, and I remember what he said to me “If you hold to my teaching, you are my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” And he also told me “I came that you may have life and have it abundantly.”
How about you? Who is your guide in life?
When we drive a car, we can go wherever we want. But when we ride a roller coaster, we let the ride take us wherever the track leads. We have no control over it. All kinds of people get on the ride. We know that the roller coaster ride does not define who the riders are. We just ride along and enjoy the experience.
Similarly, in life, we have no control over our environments. But, if we are secure and know that our roles placed in life do not define who we are, we can then learn and appreciate our experience in life, regardless of whether we are rich or poor, whether we are black, white, or any color in between. We will also realize that every role we are given is an opportunity for us to enrich our experience, gain wisdom, and find fulfillment. We are all special, and we can all write our unique stories of life.
When we are in an amusement park, we often hear riders screaming and see them letting go of their emotions, even those who are reserved and shy. Why? Because the roller coaster happens to be one of the few safe places, where we can act like a child and be ourselves without the fear of judgment. We can enjoy the moment and feel the excitement without worries. Likewise, in life, it is important for us to let go of our burdens, have a child-like heart, be ourselves, and live in the moment. Then we can truly thrive and enjoy life. It reminds me what Jesus, my guide in life once said “truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
In conclusion: Life is indeed like a roller coaster. If we have a secure guide in life, know who we are, appreciate the roles we are given, and have a child-like heart, we will enjoy the ride, and enjoy life.