Home > Parables Fables & More > A Day at the Theme Park [**]

A Day at the Theme Park [**]

As the sun broke through the cracks in the blinds, its beams found their way onto little Susie’s face. She stirred momentarily and then sat bolt upright! She was still groggy and needed to rub the sleep from her eyes, but today was the day! Her parents were taking her to Wacky Land! Susie had never been to a theme park before but had heard many exciting things… rides, caramel apples, carnival games, and more. Even now her heart raced with anticipation. Susie’s parents had told her about the trip weeks ago and the days seemed to have dragged from that point forward, but no matter now. Susie got dressed and ready in a flash, and before she knew it, the three of them, mom, dad, and Susie, were getting out of the car in the Wacky Land parking lot. The actual park was still a long way away, but from where she stood Susie could see the tops of many of the rides. She could hear lots of screams of excitement and was visually bombarded with cartoonish colors and shapes. It was all so different from the mundane life she was used to. The walls of her bedroom, for instance, were eggshell white and her classroom at school had wood paneling on the walls with plain tile floors and ceilings. The dominant sounds of her life came from the air vents and the cars and buses outside. Even from a distance, Wacky Land was just so surreal.

As they approached the gates, Susie grasped one hand of each of her parents, mom on the left and dad on the right. She was now so close she could almost taste the caramel apples. Walking through the gates, Susie couldn’t help but turn her head and dart her eyes this way and that. There was just too much to take in all at once. Standing near a bush that was shaped like a railroad train was a large mouse. It seemed to be signing autographs and giggling at everything that was said. Near a water fountain was what appeared to be a real life princess complete with a tiara and a ballroom gown. As they walked, the melody of a barbershop quartet grew stronger in their ears. There they were, four men in red and white striped shirts and white pants and shoes. Susie had to tug on her daddy’s arm and ask why they were dressed like that. 

The shops along the road were not ordinary either. The watch shop looked like it belonged in the Swiss Alps and the candy shop looked like something out of a 1920s musical. One of the places serving drinks resembled an old west saloon from the days of cowboys and Indians in America.

Then there were the rides! Even the lines were fun. While waiting to ride the jungle boat, Susie and her parents stood in what seemed to be a tent made from bamboo and canvas. In various places, vines were wrapped around the bamboo. The employees who helped Susie and her parents onto the boat looked like they belonged in a jungle too, complete with cargo pants and boonies. The captain of their boat served as a river guide pointing out all of the sites along the way. There were hippos, natives, waterfalls, and alligators. Susie quickly lost track of what was real and what was make believe. It all seemed so real and oh so much fun.

Wacky Land, as Susie found out, has several different themed areas, or lands. There was Jungle Land, Space Land, Cartoon Land, and more. Susie and her family visited several of these places before finding Fantasy Land in the very center of the park. Here there was a castle, several real live princesses and princes, a horse-drawn carriage, fairies, dwarfs, rides, and more! Once Susie was here, she didn’t want to go anywhere else. She rode the merry-go-round, finally got to eat a caramel apple, rode on a train through a miniature village where all the people were inches tall, and, perhaps best of all, got to fly over a similarly miniature village. Some rides were more fun than others. For instance, for one of the rides she sat in an upside down top hat that went round and round in circles. Susie got a little sick but not enough to ruin her day.

As the day wore on, all thoughts of the old life faded far away from Susie’s consciousness. As far as she could discern, this new and exciting place was her new home. She never stopped to consider things like going to bed, changing clothes, bathing, or, heaven forbid, doing homework. It came as a huge shock, therefore, when her father informed her that it was time to go home. The notion of going home didn’t quite sink in. Susie’s mostly unconscious reaction was, “But this is home! What do you mean?” She immediately forgot the whole thought though because she was deeply mesmerized by her surroundings. So, again, her father told her that it was time to go home. “No!” she cried! “We can’t leave now! No, daddy! We can’t go! We can’t!” When it became obvious that her father had every intention of leaving, Susie lost control. She screamed even louder and she started grabbing onto whatever she could in hopes, perhaps, that her father would simply leave her there or that they could somehow all figure out a way to stay there. The idea of leaving the park and returning to reality never once crossed her mind.

Well, Susie’s parents did manage to get her out of the park, into the car, and, eventually, home, but it did require lots of chasing, flinching, and, in the end, a few bandages.

We can learn two lessons from this story. First, due to various events in our lives coupled with our particular predispositions, most of us have settled into fantasy land in some way. We have lost touch with reality in regards to some part of our life. That looks different for everyone, but here are some examples. Some people insist that they are good and nice people. They truly believe it and will argue it till they are blue in the face. Then, without hesitation, they will say something truly nasty about you or someone else. When confronted on the issue, they always have some justification for this “isolated” incident. These people are living in fantasy land. Many addicts know fantasy land very well. They helped draw up the blueprints. One phrase often uttered by junkies is, “Tomorrow. I’ll kick the habit, tomorrow.” Fantasy land. Sadly, many women and some men, stay in abusive relationships, even physically abusive relationships, far longer than they should, sometimes to the point of death. They rationalize and justify. They say things like, “He’s getting better.”, “But I am the only one who can make him better.”, “If I leave, he might really hurt himself.”, or “He didn’t mean to. It was only an accident.” Again, fantasy land, and very sad. Personally, I tend to pretend that I don’t have money problems. It’s not something I do consciously. It is something that I sort of fade into, perhaps because fantasy land is just so much easier and more fun.

One other lesson that can be gleaned from the story is a bit more difficult to grasp. You see, one of the things that Susie failed to comprehend is that at the end of the day, the rides all stopped going, the lights and sounds faded, and the park employees, boat captains, princesses, and mice alike, all changed out of their costumes and went home. This thing that we call life, on this giant rock we call Earth, is all going to end. It is temporary. It is fun, and we should enjoy it while it lasts. A day will come though when the mountains will melt like wax before a flame, the oceans will be drained like a bathtub, and the skies will be rolled up like a map. On that day, we will stand before our Creator. He will judge us all according to our lives here on Earth. How will you respond to Him on that day? Will you be prepared to give an account or will you try to justify and rationalize before He whose eyes can peer into a person’s innermost parts? This park will close.

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