We just spent three days at Disneyland followed by two at LegoLand. Probably 30 years have passed since the last time I was at Disneyland, but I still have specific memories of rides and time spent their with my parents and family. We have been planning this trip for months and the kids were beside themselves with excitement. I was hoping it would live up to expectations.
I didn’t have anything to worry about.
Disneyland was spotless (granted, we went in October and not July). Every staff member we encountered…and I mean every one…was cheerful and happy to help however they could. We traded pins, we got lost and asked for directions, we asked for the closest bathroom probably 20 times. Every time we were greeted with eager attention. I was frankly rather amazed.
The kids loved it. We rode a ton of rides, and because the lines were short we rode them multiple times. We chased around characters and got their autographs. I took 1400 pictures (well, to my credit that did include the time at the reunion). We were at the happiest place on earth and loving it. We were enjoying each other and our first real vacation like this as a family.
Until our feet started to hurt.
And we got hungry and couldn’t decide what we wanted to eat.
And our brothers annoyed us.
And we got sick.
And….we got mad, sad, frustrated, angry, hurt, tired, hungry….all in the happiest place on earth.
Even there. Even in the midst of amazing imagination and creativity and people cheerfully ready to meet our every need. Even there we could not be completely happy.
Even if our candidate wins the election and all the things we think should happen, happen…we won’t be completely happy. Even if we get the salary we hope for, the number of kids we’ve always imagined, the house we’ve dreamed of…we’ll never be completely happy.
The rides and the entertainment, the politicians or the education we hope for, the jobs or the family…they cannot bring us to the place of complete peace and happiness. Our feet still hurt, we get mad, we get hungry even when things are the very best. There is in us an ache and a desire to touch that something that is beyond us…there is a desire to be known and understood and made whole, and nothing we can manufacture will do that. Only the One who has created us is able to answer that ache and that desire, and only in Him can we find that peace.
Disneyland is a glorious distraction. It is a moment of complete entertainment and enjoyment…a brief pause in the midst of life. It was not meant to sustain or to cure.
There is a place where all will be made whole…a place where tears will be wiped away and sickness done. A place where we will be understood and we will be who we were created to be. That place touches us where we are and we ache to know more. God in our midst, changing everything…preparing us for the place where we will never be disappointed or hurt. True hope. True joy. Truth that can give us strength on the days when the imperfect seems so evident. Truth that is more than a distraction from the present…but a reality greater than we can imagine.