A lot of things can happen in a Disney Queue while waiting for an attraction. Games of Head’s Up. Snack time. Deep conversations about God. Even deeper debates about the Marvel Cinematic Universe… recently though one of those lovely and long queue lines became a reminder for me to live a more grateful life.
I have written a few times over the past few years on here about gratitude and the perspective changing experience that it can give you.
Of course, there is a reason why I keep returning to this idea of living with a grateful heart both to others and to God… Because I find myself falling into a pit of ingratitude constantly.
My life has been filled with incredible relationships with friends and family, as well as jobs that have taken me across the country and world, all while getting to live on mission for my Heavenly Father, and most recently I married the girl who I have been crazy about for a few years. My life has been far more incredible than I could possibly deserve, yet I still find myself daily turning these beautiful blessings, meant to draw me nearer to God, into obstacles in my mind, filling me with entitlement and making me sound like Adam in Genesis when he throws God’s blessing to him, his wife Eve, under the proverbial bus instead of taking personal responsibility for his sin.
I need to be reminded to be grateful. Maybe you are in the boat with me. Thankfully God is always willing to throw out some wonderful reminders each day, calling me to remember the ways he has pursued my heart and has enriched my life with goodness and grace.
The other day I came to visit Ali at Shanghai Disneyland on my day off. Peter Pan’s Flight was only thirty minutes (which in comparison to Florida’s version is basically walking right on) so we jumped in line. There is often many noises in a Disney Queue, background music, crying, etc, but one of the sounds you don’t hear often in Shanghai is a conversation in English, but that was what Ali and I began hearing. So, we stopped talking to do the only thing we could do… Eavesdrop.
It was an American Mom and her seven year old son. The son was not enjoying the wait time and was beginning to grumble about how long the wait was taking, and the mom responded by dropping a motherly bomb quote on her son:
You can be anything you want to be in the world, just don’t be ungrateful.
A moment later, Ali turned around to tell the mom how great of a parent she clearly was and we learned in the following conversation that this mom and son flew from Dallas, Texas to visit China to celebrate HIS BIRTHDAY! The kid has always loved both Disney and China, so the opening of the newest Disney Resort became the ultimate extravagant gift of love from this mom to her child.
The mom’s only concern though was that her son would remain grateful, not simply because it made her feel good, but because in an attitude of gratitude he would be able to fully enjoy the loving gift and moment with his mom in a magical place.
This reminded me of the various Psalms (100, 106, 107, 118, 136) where it keeps repeating the history of Israel and then states “His steadfast love endures forever.” Queue Mom reminded me of God because the eternal and Creator God does not need a pat on the back from his ant-like creations known as the human species. But when we live in gratitude to him, remembering the way He pursued us, saved us, restored us, and has given us a mission we can live in appreciation for each moment, whether we think they are significant or not.
Being here in China has been an incredible opportunity. Filled with a spectrum of moments, good and bad, frustrating and uplifting, humbling and momentous, boring and exhilarating. Regardless though I can hear the Father reminding me that I am His son, completely loved, and called to a mission greater than my wildest dreams, just don’t be ungrateful.