“But I hate Disney World.”
I may or may not have been the only child who did not enjoy their Disney World experience. We also grew up without Santa Claus, which probably explains my frequent visits to my therapist’s office.
I was tired and terrified the entire trip.
My dad believed we could manage every park in a matter of three days. I was also deathly afraid of roller coasters. Now, in hindsight I realize there aren’t actually any roller coasters at Disney, but try explaining that to an 8-year-old clutching the side of a Space Mountain car. I screamed and cried for the entire 30-second ride and was rendered speechless the rest of the trip. I also deemed my father untrustworthy for approximately four years because he convinced me to hurl myself towards my untimely space-themed death, or so I thought.
As I packed my bags for Orlando I had a bad-ittude. After traveling for a few months straight the last thing I wanted to do was don yet another bridesmaids dress, pay $30 for a hot dog, and stand in line for “It’s A Small World.” In my mind that was the extent of Disney for adults.
I was wrong.
The entire day was flawless. Our friends ran around brimming with excitement. We sang at the top of our lungs. We giggled. When was the last time I had giggled? We pointed out the blatant racist oversights of “It’s A Small World.” We spun around in the Tea Cups until our faces were actually green. I even conquered my Space Mountain fear. I made that thing my bi…ggest accomplishment.
And then the fireworks show started.
If you go to Disney right now, which I highly recommend, at 10pm they will start a fireworks show called “Wishes.” The show features every time someone says “wish” in a Disney movie. Suddenly every childhood memory of Aladdin wishing Genie free, or Pinocchio wishing he was a real boy, and so on and so forth started flooding our ears. I wish I may, I wish I might.
When you wish upon a star.
I looked away from our group of friends as a tear or two started rolling down my face. I wish I may, I wish I might. When you wish upon a star. I wish, I wish, I wish. A dream is a wish your heart makes, when you’re fast asleep.
I realized I had stopped wishing, I had stopped dreaming.
Our dreams don’t just die overnight. They get buried under productivity, responsibility, and efficiency. In fact, they start to lose their sparkle when we hide them under other well-intentioned pursuits. We want to “do the right thing.” We want to like ourselves and we want other people to like us too. We want to be respected and revered. We tell ourselves that our dreams won’t get us anywhere and they certainly won’t pay the bills. They won’t put food on the table and they certainly won’t keep us warm at night.
If we’re not careful we’ll wake up one day and forget about all the wishes our heart made when we were fast asleep.
If we’re honest, dreaming is the most vulnerable thing we could possibly do. Telling another person our hopes and wishes can expose us. What if we never accomplish what we set out to do? What if, God forbid, we try and we fail? What if we never become successful or famous or validated? We’re afraid to dream because the implications are just too big. They’re too scary. They’re way too unknown. Bills and projects and chores, those are safe. My friend Ally says, “we can’t fail at doing the dishes.”
But we can fail at the painting, the writing, the new business venture, the relationship, or the dream job. We can, and probably will, fail at those things.
Sure, responsibility is necessary to survive. But I’m convinced that dreaming is necessary to thrive.
I wonder what it will take for us to kneel down in the dirt this next year and start to unearth our dreams. What if dreaming is a part of our becoming? The brave thing for us to do is to get quiet and still and see where our heart takes us when we let our minds fall asleep if only for a minute.
I’m positive that wishing is just praying in disguise.
I’ve stopped calling them prayers and more of a wishing upward. That’s all it is really. It makes me sad we’ve turned communicating with God into some grand display of our vocabulary. A lot of people seem to think the best prayers require a dictionary of some sort. But I think they’re more of an upward wish. God is big enough to grab hold of the upward wishes. We must become well-versed in the art of wishing upward. And I don’t know whom you’re wishing to, maybe it is to God or maybe you’re throwing those wishes up to the stars. But if you would like to be brave this year, I would like for you to wish upwards to God with me. If anything, the stars can’t listen. They’ll let you throw your dreams and prayers around, but they can’t hold them tight.
If we can’t wish upwards we’ll never be brave enough to wish outwards.
If we can’t be vulnerable enough with ourselves, or with God or with the stars, we’ll never have the courage to whisper our dreams to our friends.
And those wishes and dreams would be a terrible thing to waste. I’m committing to explore the things that keep me up at night this year. In 2016 I want to be brave enough to look at the wishes my heart makes and throw them upwards and then throw them outwards.