A family goes to Disney World for a small vacation. The kids are deliriously happy about the trip, anticipating the rides, food, Disney characters and the whole show.
A friend texts them every hour to see how the day is going. The first contact is when they are standing in line with hundreds of others trying to get into the park and paying the big admission fee—nobody is happy, but everyone is hopeful. At the second hour, they are on the “Small, small world” attraction and are already sick of the song and covering their ears.
The third text finds them getting snacks and paying outrageous prices only to spill their milkshakes down the front of shirts. The next text finds them on the Space Mountain ride having the time of their lives. Lunch follows where they consume more expensive, ordinary food and get caught in a brief downpour. So goes their day. Each hourly text is met with disappointment except for the Space Mountain roller coaster that everyone enjoyed. On average, the day was miserable in the 96-degree temperature.
A week later, the friend asks the family how they enjoyed their trip to Disney World. They were unanimous in what a wonderful time they had—besides the Space Mountain experience, they got to meet Mickey Mouse in person just before they left the park and have photos taken with him—and bought those Mickey crazy ears for everyone.
On balance, the family had bits of misery all day long except for two moments that were supreme—and that is what they remembered, the good times. They marginalized the lines, heat, spilt drinks, and hot, humid weather. How is that?
We remember the good times, the blessings in life and the moments wherein we share those memories that refresh us, sometimes for years to come. How can we discover, invent, or otherwise make more moments enrich our lives? For the kids, the elderly, handicapped, lost, homeless, and hurting, let us count the ways and make them happen. It begins with love and a little imagination.
Fr. J. Patrick Murphy, C.M., Ph.D., is Emeritus Professor of Public Service at DePaul University and Values Director for Depaul International, an organization that serves homeless people in seven countries.