19 August 2012

the 'happiest' place on earth (act II: 'ironies')

A day at Disneyland's a treat
despite the lines and aching feet
and when the sour that's so sweet
has disappeared from every street...

While the day in 'The Land That Walt Built' held many 'magical' experiences for us, there were other experiences at different junctures along the way that were anything but 'magical'...

Like the fact that, because of a change in distributors, there were NO SOUR BALLS on the entire premises. The one thing i look forward to more than ANYTHING when visiting Disneyland is a chance to chew my way through a bag of Sour Balls (either cherry or the 'rainbow assortment'), and gleefully wreak havoc on my last few remaining healthy teeth. Those little orbs of lip-smackin' sourness elicit such pure pleasure throughout my whole being, and are such an integral part of my 'magical history tour' through the park, I seriously had the thought of just leaving the park right then and there (and stealing a bag of rubbery 'Gummy Sours', licking each one, and sticking them to the statue of Walt and Mickey on my way out in protest). I was left speechless, stranded in a now-foreign land without my usual 'comfort food'.

This disappearance of my favourite 'comfort food' only reminded me of the lack of such little sources of 'comfort' in this season of my journey, where any kind of 'comfort' is a welcome source of relief, and even celebration.

And how many little moments of 'comfort' have actually been present for me, but i've pushed them away because moving through an experience of pain was necessary in order to feel the 'comfort'.

And the irony that i was grieving the loss of something that is so sour when you bite into it, but tastes so sweet as you savour it and swallow it.

Or when I sped over to 'Splash Mountain' to get us a FastPass to use during a specific time frame later in the day (which helps you avoid the inevitable long lines). And then we got stuck in an inevitably long line for 'Thunder Mountain Railroad' that was made unbearably longer because people with FastPasses for that ride kept being sent through to the front of the line ahead of us, keeping us in line past the time deadline for our FastPasses for 'Splash Mountain'. My anger and frustration continued to build as i realized that while we were stranded in line waiting for one experience, we were running the risk of missing out on another experience, one of my two favourites in the whole park. Visions of Chevy Chase pulling a gun on the poor security guard at 'Wally World' in 'National Lampoon's Vacation' began swirling through my mind...

My anger and frustration in the moment had blinded me to the incredible irony of the whole situation...and the moments of incredible irony in my own life right now.

Like how i (and others) had envisioned that this season of discernment would open up many new vocational possibilities beyond what i had been doing for the past 20+ years...and how the emergence of that vision naturally downplayed the possibilities that might be available to me in my prior vocational context...and how now, the best possibilities that have presented themselves to me are the ones i had closed myself off to just a few months ago, in the vocational setting i have known well and in which i have served well for my entire professional life.

And the irony of thinking i was missing out on one experience because i was waiting in line for something else, which blinded me to the fact that this 'something else' was another experience that is just as exhilarating and exciting as the one i thought i was missing out on, and numbed me to the anticipation of the chills and thrills that i was mere moments away from enjoying.

The 'happiest place on earth'?

For me, it was becoming the 'I-haven't-the-foggiest-clue-in-this-craziest-place on earth'.

Yet, amidst all the moments of seeming misery and even madness, there were other moments along the way that day that were reflective of other aspects of my disorienting and re-orienting journey of these past several months...

The new 'Cars City' is an incredibly engaging re-creation of the fictional town of Radiator Springs from the 'Cars' movies. Breathtakingly amazing creativity emanates from every corner of the city, right down to the cracks in the ceiling of the old garages and the faded pictures of the faithful residents throughout the town's history. Every square inch reveals something of the character of the community (and its creators).

Kind of like the moments of magnificence i've encountered amidst these mysterious times...

the beauty i've discovered in taking simple breaths on a run, saying a repeated 'thank you' to the creation and its Creator...
the joy i've experienced in simple pleasures with my family and friends and even strangers...
the transcendence of a timely note of encouragement, a perfectly placed pluck of a guitar string or pulse of a cymbal or pause in a lyric of a song...
the simple eloquence of silence in the presence of a crashing wave, a soaring seagull, a sensational sunset.

This sign in the queue for the 'Radiator Springs Racers' is a prime example of this creativity...and also became the means of a very poignant and meaningful message to me...

With all that has happened in my life that has 'closed' certain parts of me to others, as a way to protect myself from experiencing further pain and disappointment, and to shield those hurt parts of myself so that they can heal, these words could have come straight from the One whose heart remains open to all, and whose arms embrace all of creation in unconditional, life-giving Love...hurts and wounds and all.

A reminder to me to continue to allow my mind, my heart, my spirit, my whole being to be 'always open'...even when there are parts of me that, at least for the time being, must remain 'closed'.

The ironies of 'sour' that is 'sweet', of 'missing out' by 'diving in', of staying 'open' while remaining 'closed'.

Of 'saving' hopes and dreams and life by 'losing' them.

Of 'growing up into maturity' by 'becoming a child again'.

Of 'wisdom' that arrives on the wings of 'foolishness'.

Of 'love' that never lets us go...which we receive by 'letting go'.

(BTW...we did ride 'Thunder Mountain Railroad', which i had forgotten is SO much better in the DARK, and it set my heart racing with excitement just like it has so many times before...)

(AND we DID make it to 'Splash Mountain'...AND our FastPasses were still accepted...AND i didn't get soaked...AND we got a possible christmas card photo out of it which is very descriptive of at least parts of this past year... ;)