When I think of my life, I think about all the good and the bad. When I think about every smile and cry, I know somebody was looking out for me…every high and low that hurt me, look at me now and say…Everything is alright…Everything is ok…Everything is all good and I won’t complain even if I could.
These are some of the lyrics to one of my favorite songs by the artist J-Moss and it’s a good anthem for my life right now. Through the various ups and downs, what at times may feel like a roller coaster ride of experiences, in the end it all seems to come out just fine. Sort of like the rallying cry, keep calm and carry on. Originally mass produced on posters as a public campaign effort intended to boost morale of the British public during WWII in case of a German invasion, it was never released. Yet it recent years it has grown in folklore, and for good reason.
Recently we took the kids on our first family trip to Disney World and we experienced this mantra in the form of the daily grind of being a family at Disney. Apparently one doesn’t just visit a Disney theme park. Instead, one has a Disney experience. Spoiler alert, yes it’s as magical as they say it is (at least it was for our 3 girls), however it was definitely a marathon and not a sprint. For this marathon, it required stamina, grit, discipline, and oh yeah the ultimate outcome was lifelong memories of a fun time. You have to plan for greatness right? Anyone with young kids knows that this kind of stuff doesn’t just happen though by accident. It happens because you’ve got the double walking stroller packed with multiple snack bags and water bottles, a large umbrella (for the mid-day downpours), and an airtight itinerary so that you don’t miss your fastpass for the Frozen ride. I’m only slightly joking.
We prioritized our time at 2 parks (Magic Kingdom and Epcot) over the course of our week long trip to Orlando. Even that took a lot out of us. We would rise early, get to the park for our fast passes, come back to the resort mid-day for naps and lunch breaks (for both kids and adults), and then back to the park for the afternoon/evening. Timed rides, long lines (even in October), and 90+ degree temperatures (even in October) were the norm, yet I have to say that all in all we had fun (and we stayed under budget!).
Here’s the point: there were many times during our weeklong trip where we thought…this is getting a bit extreme. Yet we soldiered on because of our bigger goal in sight…conquering Disney and living to tell about it (lol, but seriously the memories and all that good stuff). Perhaps it was getting caught in the rain at the Orlando Eye and having to take shelter in a restaurant. But, if it weren’t for the rain we wouldn’t have gotten to spend the extra hour hanging out with our friends the Logan family and experiencing a live band play. Even in them moments we couldn’t plan for, our approach was the same: keep calm and carry on and it paid off.
Our Disney trip was just a microcosm of truly a larger approach that we take as a family to daily life. As people of faith, we’re raising our kids to center their expectations around the idea of a loving God who cares personally about them and their life. And even when it doesn’t feel like things are going your way, there’s always hope. There’s so much going on in the world today and while we may not be fighting a literal war, in many ways the constant bombardment of bad news can feel like a a daily invasion. This is why keeping calm and carrying on matters so much now more than ever.