I’m a worrier. Been one my whole life. I’m an oldest sibling, a chronic pleaser, an Enneagram 6; worry is basically my middle name. So when I was introduced to the slogan “Let go and let God,” 10 years ago, I laughed. Let go? Are you serious? If I let go, then who would do it, how would it get accomplished?
Enter R&R leave 5 years ago. My husband was granted the ability to travel back to the states in the middle of his ground tour in Afghanistan. I had 1 requirement for his leave time: we could not keep our regular routine of preschool and playdates; we had to go somewhere so that when he left again in 2 short weeks the boys and I would not be left with a gaping Daddy-sized hole in our routine.
At his suggestion I planned a trip to Disney World the first week of March. I selected the hotel room (my second choice as my first choice wasn’t available) and the dining plan. I purposefully scheduled dinners and breakfasts and down time at the hotel. I booked our flights and our pick up on the Magical Express. Though I was unsuccessful at scheduling the boys a fun haircut in the Harmony Barber Shop in the Magic Kingdom, I had everything else set up and ready to go. Perfect. Just the way I prefer it.
All plans for a family vacation the first week of March were set, including my husband’s travel home. As the trip grew nearer things couldn’t have looked better for the makings of a great trip. My husband actually left Afghanistan earlier than expected. He traveled through all checkpoints and exits at rapid speed, until the last overseas checkpoint. At this particular stop on his journey, his perfect timing came to a screeching halt…for days. Long enough that I began to obsessively worry about our family travel plans. We were cutting it down to hours. Hours, as in he might arrive in Virginia in enough time to deplane and head to a different terminal to meet us to fly to Orlando. The situation was looking grim. And all I heard in my head was, “This vacation must be awesome; it may be our only one.” Morbid, I know but my perfect planning was crumbling fast and I was desperate to make all the pieces and parts fit back together-perfectly.
At someone’s suggestion I decided to call Walt Disney World to see if I would be able to adjust the timing of our trip. I was certain there was no way we could change our whole trip, or even if we could it would be to the tune of a couple thousand dollars. On the other end of the line was a cast member named Candilyn. I told her my story about my perfect family vacation-the hotel room, the dining plan, all the dining reservations-and how here in the last couple hours before we were scheduled to head to WDW we were missing a crucial piece of our family due to hot zone travel constraints. I asked her if it was possible to pick up and move our whole trip to the right on the calendar, like create the exact same trip just a week later. She put me on hold for a few minutes (felt like thousands) and came back saying she would love to help me reschedule for no additional cost to my family! I was stunned.
As I continued to chat with her I learned the hotel room I had originally booked was no longer available, however the one I had really wanted at my initial booking was! She was also able to talk with the people from Harmony Barber Shop and they squeezed us in the day we visited Magic Kingdom. Candilyn also offered to reschedule our dining reservations for our new dates.
I hung up the phone completely overwhelmed with gratitude and awe. All my best and perfect planning left me handing over my family’s first vacation to a complete stranger. Even now I cannot think about that day and that kindness without tearing up. One because it made me love Disney and their customer service all the more, but more importantly it is a concrete illustration to me of “Let go and let God.” This letting go was not easy for me-I fretted-for quite awhile and I clung desperately to my best-laid plans, trying to will them into place.
In the end my family made it to Disney World as a complete family of four. Upon arrival to our hotel we were greeted with more undeserved kindness than we could have imagined. Turns out, our meal plan was upgraded (a system glitch?!?), our room was pool side, and we had a standing appointment at the barber shop. The magic of Disney never ceases to amaze me. But the real magic I’ve learned isn’t magic at all-it’s God’s perfect timing. Let go, let God-perfect timing, every time.