Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Magical Blogorail- Ways Disney can help with grief and sorrow


Welcome to those of you joining me from Saving Up for Disney and those of you just hopping aboard.  I am the Final stop on our Magical Blogorail.

This is a unique blog post assignment for this month from the Magical Blogorail.  However unique I think that every Disney fan and most non-Disney fans can relate to what I have to say.

First some thoughts before my post. 
1. I am a believer in Christ, so I really find my strength and joy through Christ.
2. Because I am a believer in Christ, I know that everyone is created in God's image and unique.  Everyone has unique passions and desires, one of mine is Disney.  
3.  This love of Disney is one of my unique traits that Christ instilled in me.

"To all who come to this happy place, welcome.  Disneyland is your land.  Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future.  Disneyland is dedicated to the dreams, ideals, and the hard facts that have created America, with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world."  - Disneyland dedication July 17th, 1955.

Yes I did that most from memory.  But that dedication is a great series of statements that encompass why Disney is a great venue for help with grief, sorrow, stress, or even just a bad day.  When I think about my history with grief and sorrow, I have been very blessed.  However, Disney has always been a great escape and aid through the tough times in my life.  When you look at the dedication of Disneyland you see that Disneyland is at first and foremost a happy place.  Now don't get me wrong, Disneyland and the other associate theme parks, sure have their fair share of angry parents and kids, but why do they go to Disney?  Easy answer, because it brings out the childlike wonder and inspiration                                                                                                               of time gone by.  Another note from the dedication speech is that Disneyland is your land.  I really hold to this.  Disney is what you make it.  The way I interpret the movies, music, and park experiences is unique and I embrace that.  Some things like the music from Illuminations inspires me while others might not think twice about it.  So let me take a few instances in my life where something Disney really was a God-send to me in a troubled time.

On the flight to Seattle for my senior trip to Vancouver, I was going through a pretty tough time in my personal life.  I was struggling with a few things that I won't go into detail about, but one was my decision to go to Mississippi College for my higher level education.  On the flight, I was listening to the Brother Bear soundtrack.  Brother Bear, a Disney movie that I just watched in its entirety this year, but have owned the soundtrack since its release.  The first song on the soundtrack is called "Look Through My Eyes."  The song is really the idea of the movie, which focuses on walking a mile in another ones shoes.  As I was listening, I began to realize that God knows life from my perspective because He became a man in Jesus.  What a comfort I found in that!  From a small Phil Collins song from a Disney animated movie that was never a blockbuster, came a message of hope and understanding.

It was in college that I was introduced to the world of podcasting, Disney podcasting to be exact.  This might be the single biggest help to me through my first year of teaching.  I always knew I was not the only Disney fanatic out there and when I found podcasts of guys and girls just like me, talking about Disney for hours on end every week, I was sold.  My 25 minute commute my first year was always filled with Disney news, rumors, and general geekiness.  In the morning it helped wake me up and excited for the day.  In the afternoon, it helped take me away from the stress of school and into a calm relaxing state before I made it home.  Still to this day, Disney podcasting is a source of unending enjoyment for me.  More on that later.

Watching others experience relief from sorrow at Disney is so encouraging as well.  I remember back to a trip that I took with my wife, sister, and brother in law.  We were waiting to see Mickey at Town Square.  The family ahead of us had a special needs child, who was confined to a wheelchair and could not talk.  The family was foreign and looked to be on their first trip to Disney World.  They had about 3 kids and the two that could walk were talking to Mickey and getting autographs.  After they were done the family looked to be leaving, but Mickey would not have it.  He walked right over to the child in the wheelchair and began to wave and hold the child's hand.  The mother was overwhelmed with gratitude as tears streamed down her face (and ours too).  The family simply did not think about letting their other child interact with Mickey because of his special needs.  But Mickey had other ideas. I was speaking to a cast member recently, who was very good friends with a few princesses at Disneyland.  She told me that whenever a terminally ill child had a wish to see her friend Ariel, she requested not to know the disease or how long the child had to live.  She told me that in that moment you have to be the stong one for the child.  You cannot waiver for a moment, because meeting that character is a dream come true for those children and it has to be perfect.

My own bout of cancer was met full force with Disney moments.  I listened to many a podcast during my trips to the doctor and throughout treatments of chemo.  My students would bring me Disney themed pictures and get well cards and posters.  One of my favorite memories is watching a live stream broadcast of Richard Sherman playing and leading an It's a Small World sing a long from Disneyland during one of my chemo treatments.  At that moment I knew I was the best Disney fan ever.  And when I was pronounced in remission from cancer, what did I do?  Yes I went to Disney World.....and Disneyland for that matter.

Yes Disney is usually fantasy.  I even had someone tell me one time that I couldn't just live in my Disney World all the time.  But I think there is something deeper there.  I believe that looking at fantasy is a way to really examine the human spirit.  Seeing an elephant fly, a lion become king, and a beast be transformed with love yeah doesn't happen in real life, but it sure does make me believe that I can do great things with my real life.  That's why I love Disney.  Not because it cures my grief and sorrows, but because it shows me that dreams do come true and that God loves me.


Thank you for joining Magical Blogorail Green this month.  We will be back on October 9th with an all new theme.  Keep checking in with our blogs in between loops to keep up to date with our Disney info, photos, and stories.  If you are looking for more Disney magic, you can make your way over to The Magical Blogorail website to see all our members and their blogs, as well as all our previous loops.