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The happiest place of all

March 10, 2010

I love Disney World. And today I learned why.

This semester I’m leading a book study on Donald Miller’s new book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years (which, if you haven’t read it, is absolutely worth a read). It’s about telling a “good story” with our lives – one that is meaningful and adventurous and challenging. As I was making up the worksheet for this week, I was struck by this quote: “I asked Bob what was the key to living such a great story…he thought about it and said he didn’t think we should be afraid to embrace whimsy. I asked him what he meant by whimsy, and he struggled to define it. He said it’s the nagging idea that life could be magical; it could be special if we were only willing to take a few risks.”

The place that instantly came to mind after reading that quote was Disney World. I went for the first time when I was a junior in college, and even at the age of 20 I was still awestruck with childlike wonder at how magical everything is there (they don’t call it the Magic Kingdom for nothing!). It’s a place that embodies the spirit of childhood: the belief that everything is not only possible, but also special, enchanting, whimsical. There is something about Disney World that makes you feel good about life.

As a Christian, I feel like the appeal of Disney World is something that God has put in our hearts to remind us that we were made for something more. It’s the same appeal that draws us to the beauty of nature, poetry, children, and so many other wonderful things (which for me, includes coffee…and chocolate…and all food). All of this reminds me of the verse in Ecclesiastes that says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” I love the phrase “set eternity in our hearts.” I love knowing that there’s a piece of me that was created to yearn for eternity.

I think that the nagging feeling that life could be magical is real and exists to draw us into a relationship with our Savior so that one day we can spend eternity with him in the happiest place of all. And I think that is something beautiful.

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