I just got back from a Disney Cruise to Alaska with my mom, my aunt, and my daughter. It was a lovely time and one of the best vacations I have ever had. We saw amazing shows, ate well, got to see glaciers, whales, eagles, seals, and icebergs, we visited interesting towns, and got to learn about the history and peoples of Alaska.
I come home relaxed, a few pounds heavier, and thankful for the wonderful time with my family. And I come home thinking about the way our world works, aware of my own privilege and the ways that I want to interact with people.
There’s a lot I don’t know about the people working for Disney that I met over the last few days. I do know that almost all of the people working as servers and room stewards are people of color while the cruise staff and cast members are almost all white. I know that I know nothing about what it might be like to be from Thailand or Indonesia or the Philippines and to work serving the largely white, largely American guests of the ship. It was also interesting to notice the way the cast members who performed and stared in the shows were ignored when they were acting as character hosts. When someone is on stage we see them in one way, when they are telling us it’s our turn to meet Mickey Mouse we almost see through them.
So while I come home thankful and happy I also come home unsettled. Is this the world I think God would imagine? How do I see and treat people as beloved children of God in any moment, wether I’m excited to see Mickey or ordering 3 desserts?
My vacation was perfect, especially because my whole self was part of the experience. Some might say I should shut up the part of me that thinks about how God would want the world to be while I’m on vacation. It’s a huge part of who I am however, and I am glad to be able to both enjoy myself and to think about how this experience fits in with what I know of God. I can both be in the moment appreciating what is in front of me and see beyond the moment to the larger picture of what I think my life should be like. This is the beauty and tension of a life dedicated to God in all things.