This past weekend my family and I went to Disney World. We live 2-3 hours away and are fortunate to go about twice a year. Every time we’ve gone for the last 2 years, we have tried to get fast passes for the Avatar Pandora ride, and every time we have failed. (For those who don’t know a fast pass lets you skip to the front of the line, everyone gets 3.)
Avatar is by far the most popular ride at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and probably all of Disney World. Lines are routinely 250 minutes long (yes that is over 4 hours), which is why without a fast pass we have never attempted to ride this ride, but this trip we were determined! So, we got up at 5 o’clock in the morning, left our hotel room at 6, arrived at Animal Kingdom at 6:50 (the bus was late!) and sprint walked (because you aren’t allowed to run) our way to the back of a line, that was already over a mile long, by 7am – which was technically when the park opened.
For the first 20 minutes we were walking away from the ride, because the line was so long it had to loop around. We thought about leaving the line and riding all the other rides in the park, since everyone else was in line for Avatar, but we stayed and I’m glad we did. The line only took an hour and Disney has created an entire world around this ride, so it is actually kind of fun to walk through the line and look at all the creations. When we finally got on the ride I was absolutely mesmerized by the sheer beauty and exhilaration of it. There is no other theme park ride like this anywhere in the world. (In my very humble, not particularly theme park experienced opinion.)
As I was virtually flying threw the air on a Banshee the thought that kept repeating in my mind was people are AMAZING! People, a whole team of them, created this ride and the world that surrounded it and it was incredible! Often we, and by that I mean me, can focus on all the negative things that people do and create. But the truth of the matter is we create beauty and goodness far more than we create disorder and chaos. We love far more than we hate.
There are those who seem quite intent on bringing darkness to the world, but the vast majority of us strive daily to bring light. Avatar, for me, became a symbol for all of that. It was sheer beauty and goodness and amazingness. And it helped me to remember how amazing we all are.
One of my very favorite books, given to me by one of my very favorite people, is the book Miss Rumphius. It’s a children’s book beautifully illustrated and written by Barbara Cooney. Every time I read it, I cry. The question she asks is so very simple. What have you done to make the world more beautiful? Most of us will never create the most amazing theme park ride in the universe, and that is okay! As Ms. Cooney so eloquently points out, grand acts are not necessary to leave the world more beautiful than we found it. Like Miss Rumphius we can each sow seeds of beauty simply by living our ordinary lives with intentionality.
We do not need to be young, rich, or healthy to create beauty. Miss Rumphius was none of these things when she began cultivating great, yet simple beauty. And we do not need to wait for tomorrow, we can begin today. For me one of the simplest and hardest ways to create beauty is by truly loving those closest to me. Even when they are acting like prickly porcupines. As the saying goes, hurt people hurt. The reverse is also true, loved people love. The love we show others, will create far more beauty in the world than even the most amazing theme park ride ever.
Have a day filled with beauty,
ps: If you have never read Miss Rumphius you should! Go to your local library or you can buy it here.
pps: here are pictures from the line, pretty I thought 🙂