Last week my husband and I took our two kids and two of their friends to Disneyland. We had such a good time! My seven year old daughter had never been there and I was fortunate to get a couple of "first time" looks on my camera. The best picture of the bunch was when she was on the Small World ride. The utter look of enchantment, wonder, and pure joy is priceless. It was a magical time for the young ones and those of us who were young on the inside.
While we were away in the Magic Kingdom, I got to thinking how much this while trip sort of imitates life. All of us are on a journey toward somewhere. Some of us run full steam ahead to all the best rides, ignoring the little things in our efforts to see the big stuff. Others glide on a more even pace, taking in our surroundings and enjoying the view for what it is. Life is an adventure, a trip to Disneyland and how we prepare ourselves for the journey can make all the difference. Here are a few things I discovered.
1. Get up early and eat a good meal. Well, in our case get up early and eat. I guess when breakfast is free, there really isn't much room to complain is there? We've all heard the doctrine. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating right first thing in the morning fuels the body with energy and nutrients it will need for later. If you're a Christian, it is imperative to get up early and make time for the meat of God's word. Taking in a good meal first thing in the morning prepares us for the tough challenges we'll face later in the day and fights against exhaustion when we need energy.
2. Protect your body- wear sunscreen. Anyone with fair skin is well aware of the benefits of a good sun block. Sunburn is painful. 'Nuff said. As with life, we need to protect ourselves against the harmful rays of the enemy. Guarding our hearts against things of potential danger is just common sense.
3. Wear good walking shoes. As I learned on the last leg of my trip, wearing flip-flops all day is bad for the feet. The fact is, on the road of life each of us is bound to get a blister or two. Something or someone is going to rub us the wrong way. Our feet will ache from all the endless traveling from here to there and waiting for hours for the next big ride. Wearing good shoes helps to soften the hurts when (not if) they come. In life we are going to experience pain. Growing a thick skin and choosing to let stuff go is just as important as the sunblock. Sometimes you just have to be prepared for anything.
4. Follow your guide and don't argue. Our two older boys, Zach and Derrick have been to Disneyland more times than they can count in their short lives. They know where all the best rides are, which lines have the shortest wait time, and where the best food is. It pays to listen to someone who has been there. I think older folks really don't get the credit they deserve. Too often they are looked down upon because they are slower or less adept. The truth is, listening to someone who has been there and knows their stuff can save us a whole lot of time and pain in the end.
5. Stay together. Disneyland is such a big place with so many people. It is easy to get lost in the crowd and lose our sense of balance or direction. Just as in life, it's important to keep a close eye on our loved ones and know where they are and how they're doing. This serves two purposes. One, it reminds us that we're not alone, that though we might be surrounded by people, we don't have to feel isolated. Two, it reminds us that we have a job to do. Our loved ones need us and if we're off by ourselves lost somewhere, someone is missing us and needs us back. To keep everyone close to me, I packed water in my backpack and offered it frequently. Could you, perhaps have a bit of water someone might need?
6. Make time to rest. Just yesterday I was discussing with someone how fast paced America really is. We rush through our days working to pay the bills, getting to meetings, picking up the kids, getting to here, there, and everywhere. Where has all this rushing gotten us? Knee deep in debt and obesity! Mexico is slow and easygoing. During the day eveything closes at 12pm and does not open until 4 hours later. Those people take time to rest and it shows in their appearance. They are younger looking, full of energy and vibrant. Everything they eat is made from scratch with time and careful preparation. Taking time to rest is vital for good health and truly helps us enjoy the road ahead.
7. Take lots of pictures. It is a sad fact that if you never go anywhere and never do anything, you won't have any memories to look back on later. I have learned that if I want to enjoy my life I need to be proactive and I need to have a good camera. My kids aren't always going to be here and someday I will need good stuff to talk about with my husband when it's just the two of us.
8. Spend your money wisely. For anyone who has been to Disneyland more than once, this will be old news and I apologize. However, I learned something new on this trip. Those 20 dollar mouse ears are a complete waste of money. The strap itches and unless you have a child sized head, the hat doesn't fit and just looks silly. While we're here on earth, it's probaby a good idea to spend our hard earned money on things that matter and ignore the stupid mouse ears.
9. Prepare for the road home. As stated earlier, all of us are on a journey toward somewhere. For me, I am preparing myself for eternity in Heaven. How I pack now will make all the difference when I finally get there. I am in a constant state of preparation. I want to be ready when it's finally my turn to go home. I can't wait.
10. Remember where you came from. Upon coming home I had so many pictures of our journey and everything that was wonderful about it. Each picture tells a story and if I look hard enough, I'll bet I could find a mistake or two. These are great reminders of where I started from, what I learned, and how much I've grown as a mom, wife, and friend. In life I am learning what to do and what not to do and trying to pass those things on to my loved ones. All in all, it's been an amazing ride and I am thankful for the honor of being on this journey with so many who love and pray for me.
Thank you for the joy, the memories, and even the blisters. It's been fun!