One such blessing was the culmination of a gift that we received a few months ago when someone offered to send our family on vacation to Disney World! While we had traveled for brief visits as portions of our circus, we had not been together for several days ever. So this was indeed a wonderful gift!
Upon returning, I've been thinking about some life and church applications from this amazing experience and how I might apply the things that we witnessed.
1. Disney is what you make of it. While many have labeled it the happiest place on earth, there were many who realized that happiness still eluded them. Why is that? Are some people just malcontents who can't find happiness even if it slapped them in the face? Or is there another explanation? I believe that so much of life is what we make of it. I have traveled with friends on missions journeys numerous times and they have often remarked about how some of the poorest people were the happiest. I believe this lends to this principle that our happiness should not depend on whether I got a giant turkey leg, rode on the Flight of Passage ride more than once, or saw the Lion King show. All of these things are hopes that one would have, but in the grand scheme of things, they are just part of a greater panorama of blessings. Are you allowing a disappointment or challenge to steal your zeal for life and your enjoyment thereof? Strive to maintain perspective, count blessings, and cherish the little things.
2. Disney is full of magic and wonder. While there are aspects that I thoroughly enjoy, I confess that there are other vacations that I would be just as content to consider. Disney is not my favorite place, if I had to decide upon one. What makes Disney special for me is to experience it with my family and have that vicarious magic of my kids pour over into my life across the bridge of my love for them.
While we may not experience some places and events like we used to there is almost always a sense of magic as we learn to appreciate and celebrate the wonder of others and how their lives are impacted by some experiences. When we limit our appreciation of life and experiences to our own perspective, we become what Bruce Ashford once called "narcissistic me-monkeys." Can you look around at your church and see lives that are being impacted by the gospel and the "magic" of God that is even greater than a mechanical ride at a park? We should be excited about such and do whatever it takes to see lives changed for God's glory.
3. Disney loves children. Everywhere you went and everything that you see is oriented to families and especially children. The rides, shows, events, etc. are extremely simple so that anyone and everyone can understand. That's not to say that there were not some other complicated aspects that were hinted at from time to time, but for the most part the experience was accessible to everyone. There's no sense of having to impress people with lofty ideas or explanations when the basic experience is essentially the genius of Disney. Trying to complicate that will eventually deteriorate the magic that has lead to its success.
4. Disney is a service oriented atmosphere. The song "Be My Guest" is not only from their hit story "Beauty and the Beast," but it also is a core value for them throughout everything that they do. They don't want to be just another theme park, but they strive to be the best possible experience in every detail because they believe in what they are doing. While money is always a motivation in a business like Disney, they know that people respond to services that are done well because the people love what they do and want to be there. The moment that someone views their role as another tedious checklist rather than part of the magic, the wonder diminishes. Time, effort, thoughts, and dreams have made Disney what it is today. Shouldn't a church be much more so? Shouldn't we dream about seeing life change through ministries that are out of control in many regards for God's greater glory?
There is probably much, much more that I could share about this experience, but I will bring this to an end for now. (Could there be a sequel? Disney part Deux?) Keep finding the teachable lessons from the things that we experience each day and learn from them whether you blog about them or not. Glean truth from the stuff of life and see what God might have for you. And let me know what you think about what I have shared. Did it resonate or am I just ranting again? What would you add?