Mid-June is upon us and summer is in full swing. One thing that summer means for my family is our vacation to Florida. When our children were small, we drove to the sunshine state for time at the beach and time in Orlando at theme parks. Now that the children are grown with children of their own, we still drive to the sunshine state for time at the beach and time in Orlando at the theme parks. The whole gang goes.
This year was no exception. We piled into rented housing, shared beds and bathrooms, and cooked gigantic quantities of food. We spent the days in the pool or at a beach. As always, there was one day in which we went to see some aspect of the Fantasy World created around Mickey Mouse. We took in the beauty of man’s imagination and the glory of God’s creation. We vacationed. We played. We lived and laughed together.
Each day could have been spoiled if we had allowed it to be. Babies are quite unpredictable; so we usually had one or another of them crabby, hungry, sleepy, or just plain mean. And then there was the combination of many adults weighing in on the day’s activities, which always generates many opinions. One or another of them (me excluded, of course) was always crabby, hungry, sleepy, or just plain mean. And, as with every other year, Fantasy World morphed into Reality World.
In spite of all the amenities that Florida offers, the real blessings of any of our vacations were never generated by the hype, the make-believe, the high-priced ticket, or the better-than-ordinary environment. The real blessings always came from the same things we have from day to day: the people we have in our worlds; the joy we receive from those relationships; the adventures we encounter in everyday life.
I used to dream of the day when my real world would morph into the fantasy. My prince would come; my ship would land in port; my pot of gold would be found at the rainbow’s end. Tomorrow would bring to me that long-awaited world of perfection. From a mindset like that, my day to day was something to be tolerated until the goal of the fairy tale was attained. Sadly, such a belief caused me to miss many of the joys right before me in pursuit of that illusive, ultimate joy.
Perhaps it was aging, maybe it was just living, and possibly a good dose of the Scriptures have all contributed to the change in my philosophy. I have grown to realize that joy must be found in what is at hand. The treasure must be unearthed from the ordinary and the fun must be created in the midst of the mundane.
The road trip to the sunshine state transpired again this summer as it has in so many years gone by. The craziness of many big personalities gathered in Orlando. Was it perfect? No. Was it fantasy? Hardly. Any chance it was the ultimate dream? No way.
Was it wonderful? Yes. Was it joyful? Absolutely. Was it fun? Surely. Vacation was living each day surrounded by what that day brought and finding the best in every situation. When the two weeks ended, I returned home to the daily routine of life, which is living each day surrounded by what that day brings and finding the best in every situation.
Perhaps Reality World can morph into the Fantasy World, after all!