Life can feel like a roller coaster at times. Some days are all sunshine and rainbows, and other days tornados and flash floods. It can feel difficult to get a grip when we’re riding the roller coaster, holding on for dear life, hoping our seat belt will hold out. Often times we let our happiness get caught up in the roller coaster. We place it in that little mesh pocket with our belongings hoping it will remain secure while we ride the hills and loops. And when the coaster takes a really crazy turn, we feel like we’re going to lose it.
One time I was on a ride at a Disney park. It was one of those free-fall rides, and during one of the falls, my purse floated away from me. In a surreal slow-motion movement, I reached out and grabbed my weightless purse as it floated midair in front of me.
So it seems our joy floats just out of reach at times when life gets tough. When life gets unpredictable, taking those crazy turns and loops. It’s as if we can see it floating in front of us, barely within our grasp.
When Life Hands You a Rainbow, Sing!
Our family took a road trip recently, and just two hours shy of our destination our vehicle broke down. Right when it broke down, the sky opened up and it began pouring down rain. We made it to a gas station off the interstate, hundreds of miles from anyplace familiar where my husband got out in the rain to look under the hood.
Thanks to Google, we found an auto parts store just five miles down the interstate, and chugged the vehicle along. While looking for the auto parts store, we happened upon a repair shop and coasted into their garage a mere five minutes before closing. They graciously took a look and an hour and a half and a new part later, I had high hopes we’d be on our way.
Looking out the passenger window I saw a beautiful rainbow and smiled. Just then our three-year-old started singing the chorus of the Trolls song, “Get Back Up Again.”
“Hey! I’m not giving up today! There’s nothing getting in my way! You can knock knock me over. I will get back up again! Oh! If something goes a little wrong, well, you can go ahead and bring it on. You can knock knock me over. I will get back up again!”
Her timing was too perfect to pass up, so, of course, we joined her in song with our one-year-old even throwing in a word or two now and then. As it turned out the new part didn’t fix the problem, so we circled right back around the parking lot. The garage assured us they’d look at it first thing the next morning since it was already well after closing by then. So we contacted our family to pick us up, took the kids next door where there happened to be a KOA campground with a playground, and let them run around while we waited.
Were we discouraged that we couldn’t be on our way? Sure. But hey, it was okay because we had rainbows and singing to keep us occupied. Plus, we had family where we were going, so it was a simple text message to get a ride, and the KOA campground had a pizza place and a playground. Was it our plan to spend four hours marooned in that small town outside our destination? Nope. Yet I’d say it was a lesson in enjoying the journey, and counting our blessings.
We could have been stranded on the side of the interstate in the middle of nowhere, hours from anybody we knew, but we weren’t. It could have continued to thunderstorm and hail, but it didn’t. It stopped right before we happened upon that garage. We could have been left without a way to pay since our debit cards had been shut off that afternoon due to a fraud alert, but luckily we had cash.
When we leave our happiness to the mercy of circumstance, we give up control over our ability to enjoy the journey – to see the rainbows.
This World Can Make You Crazy (If You Let It)
This world doesn’t always make sense. There’s been many times I’ve spun my wheels trying to make sense of things that happened, things people did or said. Sometimes things will make sense, but other times they won’t, and that’s okay too.
What if we’re not supposed to understand everything. What if we’re just supposed to make the best of everything we’re given?
Happiness Isn’t As Elusive as We Think
You know those times it feels your happiness is floating just beyond your reach? It’s actually not. Sometimes we forget where to find it. It’s always at our beck and call. We get confused at times where to look.
We think it’s maybe with how someone’s treating us. Or what someone did to us. How our job is going (or not going), how our income is. How our family or home life is. Whether or not we have everything we thought we wanted in our lives right now and how well our life is unfolding according to our plan. We place it on a shelf with our wishes. And as our wishes remain unfulfilled, so we allow our happiness meter to drain.
As long as we allow our happiness meter to be dependent upon gaining what we lack instead of appreciating what we have, so it will be. When we remember to see through eyes of gratitude, we’ll find our happiness is already there, right where it has always been.
You get to choose. Take back your joy from that mesh pocket of the roller coaster. It belongs to you. You can call upon it at any moment when you and those around you need it. Nobody can take that from you. When you remember where to find it, you won’t lose your grip on it no matter how fast or crazy the roller coaster goes.
If you feel stuck in whatever situation you’re in, I challenge you to find something to be grateful for. There’s always something.
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