What do you do when you drive through the mountains to explore and come to where you plan to turn around and find yourself in a small, quaint town nestled in a valley?
Find a restroom, a place to eat, then Google the town to see if there’s anything else to discover.
That’s when we found the Carousel of Happiness in Nederland, Colorado. My husband isn’t much of a Carousel of Happiness kind of guy, but once he read its story, he insisted we visit it.
Apparently, a person cannot be unhappy when riding on the carousel. And to be honest, it was pretty fun. Knowing someone who had lived through some horrific situations in war had created the animals by hand spurs a smile of appreciation even before climbing aboard.
Nothing against the Carousel of Happiness (which I recommend if you find yourself in Nederland), our happiness can’t be found in a three-minute ride that takes us in circles. To state the obvious, it really doesn’t get us anywhere. But maybe that’s part of the point. It takes us away from the merry-go-round of life that so many of us ride with fervor every day and causes us to slow down and experience something frivolous. Maybe we could find other ways to infuse joy into everyday life instead of feeling as if an escape is necessary.
Instead of just doing something temporary that makes us happy, what if we pursued joy instead? Joy is more chronic and reliable than happiness. It doesn’t come from our circumstances. It’s a fruit of the Holy Spirit, which means it comes as we not only know Him but trust Him enough to change our lives, rooting up the weeds that have taken root so that His nourishment funnels into the most fruitful things that reveal Him to ourselves and others.
There’s nothing wrong with occasional entertainment, but when we get in the habit of relying on funny videos, thrilling amusement parks, movies, and sports to give us the respite we need, we’re too focused on temporary solutions. We’ll always need more. We’ll get tired again. We’ll long to be entertained again.