Matthew 7:7-8: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
The first time my parents took me to Walt Disney World, I was only two years old. I remember my mother taking me on the Snow White’s Adventure ride. I spotted the evil queen peeking out of the window at the beginning of the ride, and I started screaming. Much to my mother’s embarrassment, I screamed throughout the remainder of the ride.
Despite my initial terror, I grew to love Disney World. In fact, by the time I was in junior high, my parents and I were visiting it every other year. It was our favorite vacation spot. In fact, most of my best childhood memories are of our trips there.
The last time I visited Walt Disney World with my parents was in April 1994. On a whim, my father said, “Let’s go to Disney!” before picking the phone and making the reservation. We spent a week there. I purchased a photograph of us braving the treacherous Splash Mountain, which is the log ride. We enjoyed a meal in the Mexico exhibit in EPCOT, and we stayed in my father’s favorite place, Disney’s Caribbean Beach resort.
Less than a month after our trip, my father had a massive stroke that left him partially paralyzed. He was changed forever, and it was a difficult time for my mother and me. My father passed away in 2010, and I often think about our Disney trips. I will cherish those memories forever.
When my husband, Joe, and I had our children, I, of course, looked forward to sharing my favorite place with them. Joe had never been to Disney World, and I often told him how much I looked forward to sharing it with him.
Unfortunately, those plans were delayed when Joe was diagnosed with kidney disease. Throughout his disease, he had to undergo two kidney transplants. The second transplant was delayed for three long years while he suffered on dialysis and awaited a perfect match. In July 2010, I attended a writing conference at Disney World, but Joe was too ill to accompany me. I took my mother and my boys, and I relished sharing the resort with my children. Yet the trip wasn’t complete without Joe.
In June 2011, Joe received a kidney through a swap. I gave a kidney to a woman, and, in exchange, her husband gave one to Joe. Both my kidney recipient and Joe are healthy now. I had joked that if I donated a kidney, I wanted to go to Disney World.
My prayers finally were answered last month. My family and I traveled to Orlando, and I was finally able to show Joe my favorite places. I had tears in my eyes when we drove into the Caribbean Beach resort and checked into our room. I took my family to my favorite shows, rode my favorite rides, and shared stories of my past visits with my parents. It was a wonderful blessing! Joe is already talking about going back again soon.
I’m so thankful that I was finally able to share my favorite place with Joe, and I’m even more thankful that we were able to celebrate Joe’s good health. God has truly blessed my family. I look forward to our future trips.