Marketed as “the most magical place on earth,” Disney World goes to great lengths to create an enchanted world within the midst of reality, attracting millions of visitors each year who are seeking to have all their dreams come true.
Soon after my first deployment to Iraq in 2003, I was drawn to this oasis of escape as my entire family celebrated my return home by going to Disney World.
My family has been blessed to be able to visit Disney World on several more occasions since and we always look forward to the tradition that we have developed over the years.
I remember the final day of our first visit, as we enjoyed the sights, sounds and attractions of the Magic Kingdom one last time.
My youngest son, who was six years old at the time, walked around the park with the longest scowl on his face for no apparent reason. My patience with my son was about spent when he finally confessed that he just didn’t want to go home and wished we could stay longer. This childlike sentiment was certainly understood and brought a smile to my face.
The last day of each subsequent visit to the world inspired by a mouse, my youngest son always became a bit of a grouch. I was curious to see if he might grow out of the magic.
Therefore, I was mildly surprised that during our last visit to Disney upon my return from Afghanistan, my youngest son still walked around like “Grumpy” as we were leaving, even though he was then 16 years old.
A place like Disney World can certainly instill a sense of charm that when suddenly broken can bring upon us a pale of melancholy. All fantasies, no matter how tangible, are ultimately illusions.
Fantasies are not real. They are a brief vapor. Though we long to stay in our slumber, we all eventually must wake up to reality.
Thus, the gloom that comes upon us every time we relive the “all good things must come to an end” syndrome.
There is a simple truth we must realize as we leave fantasy world. Just as certain as last days are at Disney World, we will all face an ultimate last day.
Some last days may be sudden and tragic, not affording reflection. Others, however, will see their last day slowly approach from the distant horizon. We read in Psalm 103: 15-16 that all our days are like “Grass, we flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone.” Are we living our days to their fullest? Will we be prepared for our last day? Will we have regrets?