Thursday, October 27, 2011

Patience is a Virtue...

Recently I joined my family on a week long vacation to central Florida for a visit to Disney World. We had been planning this trip for some time with some dear friends and were very excited about this week of fun (though I hesitate to use relaxation). It was not our first trip to the World of the Mouse and so we felt like we had a good handle on what to do/where to eat/what rides to hit first, etc...

What we did discover quickly is that there is a hidden perk at Disney! Patience. Now, I love Disney. This was my third trip ever and I have kind of decided that once every 2 years is not often enough to visit. It truly is a magical place! However, and Disney does not promote this too much, it is also a great place to teach families patience.

Once we landed in Orlando, we were excited to be in such an exciting place. What we forgot was that the trip from the airport to the hotel was a long 45 minute drive. Disney does their best to entertain you en route, but its a long drive. Our luggage, which was conveniently checked for us and whisked away without us having to touch it, took an extra 3 hours to arrive (which was tough on a family who really wanted to get into pajamas and go to bed, as we arrived late in the evening). Our first morning we remembered that the wait for the bus to take us to our first park was going to be a while. Once we boarded the bus, there was another wait as we were herded to Epcot. All of this was, of course, preparation for the lines we would stand in for each ride. There were also long lines at the restaurants where we chose to eat, in the shops where we tried to buy merchandise, and even at the bathrooms. Disney has mastered the theme of waiting and has done everything possible to make these waits palatable, and I think its part of the curse of Disney-- being good at making people wait makes more people attracted, thus compounding their wait time. Eventually a saturation level is reached and no matter how attractive you package the wait, it still gets tedious.

We had a great time on our trip. Truth be told, the park was not as crowded in October as it might be in March-April or even the summer. So I guess we got lucky when it comes to wait times and crowd sizes. But I think that our 10 year old son and 7 year old daughter learned a valuable lesson from this vacation- good things come to those who wait.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


People have asked me before if I believe in miracles. I can, and without any hesitation, state that I most certainly do. The kind of miracles that defy our rational ability to understand. The kind of miracles that blow away our conception of reality. Miracles to inspire us and to remind us that there is ALWAYS hope.

The problem to most people, I am afraid, is that we have turned a blind eye to the miracles that surround us. In fact, miracles are so prevalent in our life that we often turn a blind eye to them. Take for instance breathing. Doctors and scientists have come a long way in explaining the process of respiration and the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide that takes place in our lungs. We have an incredible understanding of the need for oxygen on a cellular level to support the basic and complex functions of life.

And yet this miraculous process, breathing, is so often taken for granted that we miss the importance of the miracles taking place right within our own body.

On Sunday morning, right before I was to get up and begin this message, my wife came over to me and explained that she had just gotten a message from a family member that another loved family member who has been on dialysis for several years now just got the message that a donor kidney was now ready for him. Watching this person struggle with health issues (caused by a mutated gene) for the past several years has been difficult. It can easily lead to questions of justice, mercy, and compassion as we see loved ones hurt and struggle. I make no excuses here-- I believe God has a lot to answer for in the moment that I get to have that direct conversation (To help understand this, I believe God does hold a lot of responsibility for the horrible events that take place in this world, and to hold that responsibility accountable we were sent Jesus).

It has been less than 24 hours since the surgery took place and there are still a lot of questions to answer and a long road of recovery, but so far everything seems to be going well. I can not fully re-count the spirit of joy that was present as the doctor (who must witness these kinds of miracles all too often to be visibly overcome by them) announced that the procedure was a success and everything was all right. You could feel as the father of this young man broke down in tears of joy. God was present in a mighty way this day.

Today I got to visit with the recipient of this new fully functioning kidney. We talked of the sorrow of the loss of life for the donor and the grief their family members must be experiencing with this loss. And we talked of the joy and excitement that comes with the promise of a whole new life re-opening up! We comment that God specializes in resurrection, and that the choice of new life is one that is made available to us every day. Today this young man has a whole new understanding of the choices now made available through sacrifice and redemption.

Fear and anxiety still abound as much still needs to take place in this young man's body. The difficult road to recovery will be full of challenges. Too much can still go wrong in this process to say he is now out of the woods. But for today it reminds us of the chances God provides us to choose. And that this choice can lead to life in abundance.