I wasn’t allowed to watch The Simpsons when I was growing up, but I still remember the episode “Selma’s Choice.” Marge’s sister Selma takes Bart and Lisa to Duff Gardens, a beer-based theme park. They all go on a ride that is very similar to It’s A Small World and Bart dares Lisa to drink the water. Lisa does and she gets violently ill.
No one kept me from watching Family Guy, though they probably should have. I remember the episode “The Courtship of Stewie’s Father” when Peter takes Stewie to Disney World. They get separated and Stewie is forced to work as one of the children on the ride It’s A Tiny World.
Both of these episodes, separated by over a decade, poked fun at the Disneyland ride It’s A Small World. When I was 12, watching The Simpsons, and 24, watching Family Guy, I laughed at both of those episodes. Partially because they were funny, but also because I was too cool for It’s A Small World. I enjoyed It’s A Small World as a child but, as I grew up, my disdain for the ride grew as well.
I was too old to be entertained my singing kids.
I was too cynical to buy its message of unity.
I was too cool to even want to stand in line.
All of that changed yesterday, though, when I went on It’s A Small World with Clara.
We had a friend who works at Disneyland graciously sign us in. Alycia and I were unsure about how Clara would respond to Disneyland and if we’d even be able to maneuver our stroller through the crowds. We managed the crowds, though, and Clara absolutely loved Disneyland. She was so excited to experience everything around her that she didn’t even take a nap.
Her excitement reached its apex on It’s A Small World. She wasn’t too old, she wasn’t too cynical and she wasn’t too cool; she just opened her little eyes as wide as they could go and took it all in. From the moment we entered the first room she was smiling and clapping along with the song. I haven’t enjoyed that ride in 25 years, but I saw it with new eyes yesterday, seeing how much joy it brought Clara.
I suppose that’s how God feels when he sees us living the lives for which we were created. We’re never going to do something that God hasn’t seen before or ordained to occur, however that doesn’t mean we can’t bring him joy. I was so happy to see Clara so happy. I want to make God just as happy by living the life I was meant to live. We weren’t created to wallow in sin or seek our own desires; we were created to follow God’s will while we further his kingdom in this world.
Clara was as happy as I’ve ever seen her on It’s A Small World and it made me as happy as I’ve ever been to see her. We can do the same thing for God by living the lives he created us to live, with or without an annoying song.