Lessons from Disneyland

The PLAN

This week is my dear friend’s last cruise. I’m still dreaming about our last cruise’s adventure.

When Norwegian Epic cruise ship went for an emergency stop due to engine failure, the cruise schedule abruptly changed. We couldn’t sail straight away. We were delayed for almost two days. We stayed in Port Canaveral and loaded guests. But we waited for the engine to get fixed before we finally started to move again.

My friend and I had a crazy idea the night before. Let’s go to Disneyland! We’ll go see Mickey Mouse no matter what.

And so we did. Thanks for the help of good friends even strangers who moved mountains just to make things possible for us.

We rode a car and traveled for more than an hour. Are we there yet? Like young kids we couldn’t wait. Our eyes were fixed on the windows looking for signs to tell us we’re heading close. A sweet dream is within our reach. We couldn’t be more excited.

The PARK

And the long wait was worth it. The minute we’re inside the park, we were not disappointed. I couldn’t help but cry. I was emotional and thrilled at the same time. I thought of Papa and all the other dreams I made as a child. I thought, “Some dreams don’t die.” They just lie idle in our minds. When the time is right God will bring them back to life.

Lessons from Disneyland
Disney’s Dreamland

This special place is a huge melting pot of ideas, dreams, and gifts. I’m grateful to have explored it with a good friend. We walked around like kids. Strolling in awe. Overwhelmed and beyond excited. Gladly taking in all the beauty and magic.

I stood in front of a magnificent castle where a grand parade ended. I realized that there is no scarcity of gifts. And when we work together with the talents we’re blessed with, we give birth to a masterpiece. Then we give joy and service to our families, friends and people we won’t even meet.

You might be wondering what gifts you have? What you can share? Or how do you serve? That’s okay. Questions are good. They make you want to look for answers. Many years ago, I was on the same place. Confused, without focus, no solid dreams, lacking confidence, having only little faith.

The GIFTS

Bo Sanchez once shared, “Nothing remains small in the big hands of God.”  And I found it to be true. When we believe, God’s heart is touched. He gives us courage. He gives us healing. He gives us wisdom. He gives us love.  You see that little faith grew. That little faith helped me find myself, my gifts, and my dreams. I took a special journey towards self-discovery at sea. My experiences on ships molded me.

After working on cruise ships for a long time, I discovered that gifts are connected to one’s dreams and ultimately to one’s life purpose. These are some important lessons I learned about gifts. Hopefully, these lessons will help you too. It doesn’t matter whether you haven’t found your gifts yet or you know exactly what they are.

The first and most important lesson of all – God is the giver of gifts. All gifts are from Him as all beautiful things are. “He formed our inmost being. He knit us in our mother’s womb.” He planted deep desires in our hearts that can be fulfilled using the gifts He blessed us with. Achieving our dreams will bless the world and will bring glory to His name. To make our dreams real, there are three things we must do with our gifts. They are  G-O-D.

The G-O-D

Give

The first step is to give. It is by giving that we’ll discover our gifts. It is through service that we’ll know what talents we have. When we help others wholeheartedly and selflessly, we find out our interests and our skills which are related to our gifts. Our gift is something we like and we’re good at.

My many years of teaching and working with kids helped me discover my gift in organizing and communicating ideas. Inside a tiny classroom, I found my happy place. I thoroughly enjoyed telling stories to kids and helping them read. Little did I know that one day I will share my adventures on ships and the lessons I got from the sea.

There are also other gifts I found. They are not necessarily skills nor talents, but they are what make up my personality – the core of who I am. My gentle and quiet spirit bless the people I’m with because I bring them peace. My patience for others makes them want to be more understanding and kind, too. My faith in the Lord and everything good encourages them to stay optimistic and to always have hope.

So go out there and serve. Dirty your hands even when it’s hard. You have to work and give it your all. It may seem that nothing is happening right now but in time you will reap the rewards of your labor.

Own

The second step is to own. It is by owning our gifts that we’ll distinguish ourselves. Owning our gifts gives us a better understanding of who we are. Owning our gifts means accepting their strengths and their limits. Owning our gifts means accepting that our gifts are all different. Our gifts are not equal but equivalent because God is not a boring God. He enjoys variety. Our varied gifts bring color to the world. Our God is also a strategic God. He makes sure we’ll need each other. He wants us to work together in our weaknesses and strengths. Then He’ll cover the difference.

When I first started doing ships, I hated the parties in the open deck. My job required me to dance in front of cruising passengers. Every time the island party is on, I would wear my floral dress and a fake smile on my face. I would think of my teacher friends and the difference they make in the life of young students. And I would feel so little of myself. For while they were out there doing something noble and making a difference, I was on a big ship dancing Macarena. And the worst part, I sucked at it. I can’t dance. I can’t sing. I’m too shy and too quiet.

But then through the years, I realized that it was just a pruning stage for me. I realized that I don’t have to be upset if I can’t do those things. I can be good at something else. Since my gift is communication, I looked for opportunity to use it. I tried hosting shows, events, and parties for families and kids on the ship. I shared stories of my adventures and lessons learned through the Internet hoping that in my own little way I can be the difference that I seek.

Do

The third step is doing. It is when we do or act on our gifts that we develop them. We work not just at the start but also in the end. It is actually a non-stop doing. We don’t content ourselves with simply knowing what our gifts are. We have to seek every opportunity to better if not perfect them.

When we improve our gifts, we improve ourselves. Then we bring more value to others. We make not just own dreams come true but we help others go to where they want to go, too. We make many many more dreams come true.

When I finally owned my gift, I deliberately sought ways to use them even when it’s inconvenient. Even when I’m too shy to stand in front and talk. Even when I’m scared people won’t listen to me. Even when I fear nobody would read my stories. When we want to develop our gifts, we find the will to do the right thing to do no matter how uneasy we feel.

The DREAM

This website is something very special to me. It houses adventures and lessons learned that are anchored on my gift which is to communicate and to teach. It is also my gift to the world and to all young Filipinos wishing to work at sea. This site aims to inspire and to guide. This site aims to move people to act in courage, joy and faith.

Like me, the site is also on its journey. There are still many things to work on. There are still many things I don’t know. But all big dreams start with a first step so here it is. In all its simplicity, it seeks to one day leave a legacy.

Are you still wondering what your gifts are? Don’t feel bad. Help always comes. God will meet you where you are. He will use you where you are and bless you where you are. So cheer up!

Thank you Kooki, Villain, Rebel and Hazel for this wonderful Disney memory that I truly won’t forget. Here’s to all our gifts that we’ll share with love. And to all our dreams that we’ll pursue with courage.

Follow your dreams.

Jen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *