Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, October 19, 2006

It's A Small World After All . . .

by Julie Coulter Bellon

Last week I spent a lot of time in Disneyland and I think it's done something to my psyche. As I waited in line for the tram, then waited in line to get tickets, then waited in line to get in, then waited in line for rides, being crushed by the incredible amount of people around me, I had a lot of time to think. (Okay, with six kids, not a lot of time, but some.) And this is what I came up with. Disneyland is a lot like the world we live in. Let me explain how.

While I was waiting in line looking at the thousands of other people waiting in line, I thought that maybe that was what it looked like before we came to earth. We're all in this big area, wanting to "get in" to this incredible place called earth because we just know it's going to be really good. We patiently wait our turn as we're checked and stamped and pronounced ready to go. Okay, some of us patiently waited our turn. When we were at a Disneyland security checkpoint, there was a couple in front of us and the wife tried to get by the security guard while her husband was having their bags checked. The security guard stopped her and said that she had to wait even if she didn't have a bag. She freaked out. Seriously. She started screaming at the security guard, "do you want to strip search me too?" (Everyone was looking at her like she'd lost her mind. This is Disneyland!) Not that any offers of strip searching would have happened before we came to earth or anything, but the point is that some of us were probably impatient to come.

Once you get in to Disneyland you have a limited amount of time before the park closes and you have the option of taking a map and planning your day with rides, shows, and fireworks. There are fast passes and down times to get you where you want to be in the least amount of time, but you have to do your homework and organize yourself if you want to do that. You generally have to make a priority list, or start at one end of the park and work your way around, plan your work and work your plan---something like that. It's just the same as when we are here on earth. There are so many things to experience. We are given a map in the scriptures, but it's up to us if we follow it. Do you take the fast passes and follow the Prophet's counsel? Do you organize yourself to have family home evenings, scripture study and personal prayer? Do you have a priority list? Or are you flying by the seat of your pants with no plan at all hoping to get it all in before your time's up?

If you follow the crowd at Disneyland you get bogged down in line after line. We were working our plan, making our priority list of our favorite rides we wanted to see, and not following the crowd to get to see them without waiting too long. I was excited to see Soaring Over California, (my favorite ride), Pirates of the Carribean and the Haunted Mansion, because we'd been there years ago and knew they were cool rides that we wanted to see again. Soaring Over California is a spectacular ride, Pirates had changed quite a bit but it was still good, I was disappointed, however, that they'd changed everything in the Haunted Mansion from the amazing Victorian stuff for Nightmare Before Christmas. It was still worth it, though, and I was glad we were able to see all of them. So, just like on earth, sometimes it's better not to follow the crowd so we don't get bogged down and can have amazing experiences on our own even if it's not what we expected it would be.

People have a lot of expectations of Disneyland. Some call it the Happiest Place on Earth and expect it to be a magical escape. Watching my little boys' faces was probably the highlight of the trip for me. It really was magical for them. So when I staggered out of Disneyland late one night, the soles of my feet completely numb, (we actually got lost in the parking garage and I honestly didn't think I would ever walk again) we took the children out for a late supper. As I sat there massaging my feet, I watched them laughing together, reminiscing about the day and at that moment it really hit home to me what it's all about. It's about making memories as a family, so that when we're all grown up we can remember those family times and how close we were. It's all about our eternal relationships that we build here on this earth. It's all about love. Loving your neighbor (even the ones who cut in front of you in line), loving yourself, loving family and loving God. But maybe not so much loving Disneyland anymore. Until next year anyway.


At 10/19/2006 2:31 PM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

What a great analogy, Julie! With that in mind, I think it's about time I exit Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (I've been wandering around here in Fantasyland a long time, after all) and finally move on to Tomorrowland. I've heard good things about the new Buzz Lightyear attraction. "To infinity and beyond!" (What's beyond infinity, anway?)

Love the line. Love the post.

At 10/19/2006 2:50 PM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Thanks, Kerry. I knew you would understand me and my rambling.

Buzz Lightyear was my youngest son's absolute favorite ride. He would have gone on it twelve times if we'd let him. When you're done with the ride you can e-mail home your photo of you shooting aliens which is kind of cool, too! (Is that kind of like watching your life and your actions when you get to heaven?) LOL I can't stop!

At 10/20/2006 2:11 AM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...

About two years ago I had a conference I was attending in Orlando by myself. I had no plans to go to any parks, but my wife and kids convinced me I couldn't go to Orlando and not go to at least one Disney theme park. So I bought a ticket to MGM (one of the disney parks)and went inside. I walked through the gates, looked at the various shows and rides and thought, "I have absolutely no desire to be here without my family." I just turned back around and walked out.

That's exactly how I feel about life. If I am with my wife or kids or both, I can have fun doing almost anything. But when I am on the road without them, I usually just stay in my hotel room and read a book or write. Almost everything that makes me happy comes as a result of my family being happy.

So I guess for me your anology is a pretty apt one, Julie.


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