We walk through the gate, hand-in-hand. It’s our fortieth anniversary, we’re celebrating by returning to where I first realized I loved him. Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom. It promises a world of wonder. To be a place where everyone who’s young at heart thrives. Where dreams come true. It claims you enter with a spring in your step and a smile on your face. Just the thought of spending a day in the Magic Kingdom causes you to twirl and dance.
And we come here for a little of that. Time to enjoy each other. Reflect on forty years of laughter woven in with mundane and some sorrow. As always for me, Disneyland lives up to its hype. We enjoy a barbershop quartet while licking ice cream cones for lunch. Chat with the artist who deftly cuts our silhouettes adding to the ones we already have of our two daughters and three grandchildren.
We reminisce about the tomato I accidentally squirted in Van’s eye during our date forty years ago, Van continuing to insist I did it on purpose. All throughout the park, we hold hands. It is magical.
For a few hours.
When I walk back to the car, feet aching, there are new memories to cherish. But the magic of Disneyland doesn’t follow me into reality. Disneyland, with all its magic, is temporary. Its happily ever after is a fantasy I can’t bring home in a souvenir bag.
Once I step back into the reality of bills to pay, teaching seventh grade, meals to plan and cook, never-ending-laundry, I look back at the magic and wonder how to get more.
The answer is not the fantasy of Disney’s magic kingdom, but to live fully in the eternal Kingdom-a Kingdom not of this world. The Kingdom of God.