The pilgrim is back! I apologize to all my regular readers for my long absence from the blogosphere. Oh, I’ve been around, but only as a lurker here and there, but now after a very eventful spring and summer I am ready to blog myself happy again. From April through June I’ve been busy moving and adjusting to our new home. Just last week our family took a second journey to that famous fantasy realm in Florida – Disney World. This trip was far more enjoyable than our last visit in 2005. One reason is that our kids are all a little older and more independent. They could enjoy the spectacle much more than they could 3 years ago. Although it was the adults who had the most fun overall. The teenagers were too old for Mickey Mouse and the young ones just weren’t feeling the magic. That’s OK, I suppose, because the reason I had more fun this time around revolved around the fact that a large number of family members partook in this great adventure. A grand total of 17 people, young and old packed their bags and made the journey to Orlando. I enjoyed the company and a good time was had by all. But as the patriarch of this clan commented at a final lunch gathering on the way to the airport: “We had to work real hard to have a good time.” I couldn’t agree more.
Disney World is an amazing place. It is obvious that the Disney corporate machine spares no expense on everything they do and that they employ some of the most creative minds in the world to imagineer the magnificent world they have created. It is also the single most exhausting place on Earth. We visited Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Epcot over three days and my feet have paid a dear price. I have blisters that have hardened into callouses. My feet throbbed every night and I swear steam rose up every time I dipped them into the cool pool water at the end of the day. I have gout in my big toe and it began acting up even before we boarded the plane. However, I gritted my teeth and made up my mind that I would not become a burden to the group. I marched on and kept pace. We returned Friday night and I must admit that I have yet to recover from the trip. I could barely keep my eyes open at work yesterday.
Our journey began inauspiciously. We flew to Atlanta around 10:00 AM on Sunday afternoon on our way to Florida. The final approach was uncomfortably bumpy, as a large storm began moving in to the metro. We arrived none to soon, as moments later, as we sat in a restaurant, the clouds burst and rain descended in sheets. Lightning peeled and thunder rolled, shutting the airport down temporarily. This was only the beginning of our woes. Our 1:30 fight was delayed by half hour increments until 4:00 when the desk clerk announced, almost gleefully, that our flight had been canceled. We then had to make our way to a help desk line that I believe may have actually been close to a mile long. We had the impossible task of finding another flight to Orlando that evening with at least 17 empty seats. I didn’t hold out much hope but God graciously provided for us and we found another flight for 7:30 PM. After several more delays we finally lifted off the ground at 10:30 PM. We spent twelve miserable hours in that airport, sleeping on the floor, funneling kids to and from the bathrooms, feeding their almost insatiable hunger. We worked hard to keep them entertained, because as most of us know there is nothing more dangerous in all creation than a bored child.
Up until that point, I did not believe that purgatory existed, but am now convinced that it does. It is located squarely in the midst of Atlanta. They call it an international airport but I know better. It is neither heaven nor hell, but a realm of trial and suffering. It is a place where time slows to a near standstill, giving all its inhabitants time to reflect upon their mortality and frailty of character. It is a testing station of the limits of human patience and obeying the divine command to love thy neighbor. I’ve never liked flying and until I embarked on this trip I had always thought that it was the airplane ride itself that I abhorred. This is not the case. Airplanes are OK, it is airports that I detest.
We arrived at our Hotel around 2 AM. Needless to say, we got a late start the next day on our Disney expedition. In my next post I will endeavor to detail what God revealed to me about myself over those five days. Needless to say, I am indeed a work in progress. The Lord, I think uses times like this to show me where I am weak in my walk with him and where exactly it is that I need more of His grace to overcome the sinfulness of my own flesh.