Oh, Those Emotional Roller Coasters

Dedicated to anyone who likes roller coasters and metaphors.

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The function of a roller coaster is to make you forget the world for a few minutes as your body is taken on an exhilarating adventure meters higher in the air than you are accustomed to. Not only do you approach cloud #9 physically, but you do so mentally as well. The thrilling sensation created by the exciting anticipation of being suddenly rotated around a circular track with the physics of centripetal force has your emotions at maximum intensity.


Now I just described one of my favorite amusement rides: the physical roller coaster.

But what do people mean when they say they are on an emotional roller coaster? Well, I cannot speak on their behalf, but I can certainly speak on mine.

In a physical roller coaster, things are simple.

  • There is a starting location, and an end location.
  • There is a set timing for how long each ride will last.
  • Because there is a designated person controlling the ride, you can be assured that you’ll get by in one piece,
  • Get all the way through,

And all you must do is sit back and enjoy the ride.

Emotional roller coasters are a little more complicated.

Whereas a flux of various emotions are experienced on the physical ride – suspense, excitement, fear, joy, and so forth – they are all validated, expected, and hence most warmly welcomed as the norm.

But life often puts you in circumstances that you cannot see what the end result looks like, situations that you do not know how long your nerves must be put to the test, and something seems to go seriously wrong along this metaphorical ride…


You see, in an emotional roller coaster, you are not taken on a complete 360 degree turn; at least not in one swift shot. No no, you are rotated at most 180 degrees from the bottom so that you are now upside down. There is no human controlling this so the “ride” is halted midway for an indefinite period of time. Here you are, just hanging upside down as the blood rushes to your head, and you simply cannot ignore what you can’t stop thinking about.

You realize you’re experiencing a range of complicated emotions, and the more you try to rationalize them, the more sophisticatedly complex they become.


In these awkward circumstances, it can be hard to know how to feel and remain in an internally balanced state. The only way to do this is to remind yourself, for your own sake, that although there isn’t a human controlling this whirlwind of a ride, this is all part of a plan from the Best of all Planners.

Once this fact is internalized, it is easier to accept the fact that you’re going to be left hanging upside down, midway on this circular metaphysical track, until you learn to trust in your Creator and His wisdom.

Brace yourself to be content for whatever is to come next.

Oh, those emotional roller coasters. Might as well learn to enjoy the ride while I’m on it.

Gears

And Allah knows best.

-A.S.

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