Cassandra Moton – Children’s Programming Pastor
We just got back from an amazing vacation. My sister generously took all of us to Disneyland! When I say all of us, I mean all of us.
It was herself and her two children, my mom, my husband, me, and our three children. Yep – that is nine of us! And we spent five amazing days in the parks. I have to admit we are a Disney crazy family. We love going to Disneyland. And yes, there are a lot of long lines. And yes, the park is always incredibly full and busy. There are seas of people everywhere you look. So why do we love Disneyland so much? It’s because of the long lines. Yep, you read that right. I like the long lines. I don’t just like them, I secretly enjoy them. Now, let’s not go overboard. Anything over 60 minutes is not happening, and for goodness sake – use your fast pass! But a line from 20 to 60 minutes is where I smile. Where the inside of my soul is yelling YES!
You see I have 3 girls (18, 16 and 11) who are quickly growing up. They are all young ladies now and not my little girls. My husband and I have a great marriage, but let’s face it, we discuss more about work then we probably should on a regular basis. And my sister, my mom, and nephews all live in Canada so we hardly ever see them. And when life is busy and everyone is overstressed and you hardly have any time to talk to each other face to face, it’s easy to let family relationships slide. It’s easy not to have a real conversation with someone or take the time to listen. It’s easy to be mean to each other and step on each other’s feelings. But God doesn’t want this for our family.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32
It’s easy to be a family of bitterness, rage and anger when you never spend time with each other. So at Disneyland, while we stand in lines, we get to TALK! And you don’t even have to have something pre-planned to talk about! We talk about Disney itself, the hidden mickeys in the park, the new stuff we notice about the atmosphere in the line, the list is endless. We don’t have particularly deep conversations in these lines. But we get to know each other again, to rediscover personalities and, above all, laugh. Laughter is the best part of Disneyland for us. The opportunity and the space, to laugh and find joy in each other. Laughter is bonding. Standing in these lines, deciding together where we should go next, when we should eat, who needs another churro, is all community building time. And yes, my family really needed this community-building, family-bonding, full-of-laughter time together. Needed it desperately. Why did my sister insist on taking us all on this trip? It’s simple. We have lost my brother in law and my father in just under two years. My oldest is 18 and getting ready to move into her next stage of life, followed by her sister right behind her. We don’t know what tomorrow brings. We don’t know how many vacations we will have together in the future. So we embraced the lines and all the joy, laughter, and community that came with them.
I get that Disneyland is crazy expensive and I’m not writing this telling every family you must go to Disney. That’s not the point at all. But if you find yourself on vacation, even a staycation, and you find yourselves standing in line for anything, talk to each other. Strike up a conversation with a family member. Ask them about themselves. Take the time this summer to laugh together, to be with each other. If your life is anything like ours, it’s insanely busy. Take a day to get off the crazy busy train and enjoy the people around you. Do a service project together, go for a long walk through your neighborhood, bike to the grocery store instead of driving, take a painting class. Spend time together doing something that is not your normal day to day life.
And if you find yourself in a long line, in the hot sun, don’t grumble and be upset. Embrace the time for conversation, embrace laughter, embrace silliness, embrace the lines!Click here for the photo credit on this post