This week, I attended the 8th grade field trip to our local theme park. I was assigned a group of kids to check in with through the day, but they didn’t have to be actively chaperoned. So, with an entire day to spend in the park I found myself on a few rides. Hold on tight as I attempt to compare rollercoasters to life.
I rode two coaster style rides during my day at the park.
The first was a fun ride with large drops, turns, and dips. You could see them coming and brace yourself for the ride. If I was feeling adventurous, I would raise my arms and enjoy the thrill of the ride. Looking back, it reminds me of life. You don’t always know what path your life will take but you can see plenty of it coming. When it’s fun you raise your arms and enjoy the ride. When things get intense, you hold onto the lap belt and try and remain seated. You can still look around and enjoy the view even when things get a little bumpy.
The second large coaster I rode was intense. I had to jump up into the highchair type seat, then seat belted with an over the shoulder harness. My legs dangled in the air as the ride chugged to the top of a crest. I’m not entirely sure what even occurred on this ride. I know there was at least one upside loop and a corkscrew or two. According to Wikipedia, there was something called a zero gravity roll and an Immelmann’s loop. Innately, I knew not to look around during this ride. I found a spot on the chair in front of me and focused on one spot. If I had let my gaze wander to the surroundings, I wouldn’t have been able to take it in. It is highly likely I would have been sick.
Looking back, I think there are parallels here to life and grief. We expect our lives to be like the first coaster. We don’t really know where we are going but even through the ups and downs, it’s enjoyable. Sure, there are times where things dip and we’re sad, but we can see through to the other side. But occasionally we get on the second coaster in life. There is no looking ahead. No matter what life is throwing at you, you must just look straight ahead to remain intact. Letting your body and mind deal with what is happening now. There is no view into what’s ahead, and you’re only job is to get through the next loop de loop without spilling your lunch.