Have you ever been to Disneyland, Six Flags, or similar and at some point while you’re on it the ride comes to a stop? And people, maybe even you (or me), groan aloud. You think, “Oh, what’s wrong now?” You wonder if the ride broke down. Maybe you’re anxious for the fun to continue so you can get on to the next fun thing. Perhaps your children (or husband) get antsy. Maybe you sit and enjoy the air conditioning or being off of your feet for an extra moment or so. And, if you are at Disneyland on the Haunted Mansion ride, you will hear a voice come over the speaker to say, “We have been detained by cranky spirits. Kindly remain in your ‘doom’ buggy . . . .”
I was standing in line waiting to board one of those “doom buggies” in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, over a year or so ago. Up ahead I saw that the ride stopped, and when it did, I heard the crowd groan in unison. A flurry of movement away from the main boarding spot, off to my left, caught my eye. There, I saw a young woman in a wheelchair; she looked to be about my height. An older woman, who I thought to be her mother, bent over her, cradled her in her arms, and lifted her from her chair. Carrying the young woman, the older one made their way over to the stopped cars. The older woman lovingly and gently set the younger woman down in a car, settled her, and slid into the seat beside her. My throat tightened and tears came to my eyes. The love and devotion in that moment was a palpable force, which I felt most strongly in my chest. I could barely breathe. In another moment, the ride began moving. I could hear the crowd around me saying things like, “Finally!” Of course, they hadn’t seen what I, and a few others, had witnessed.
I think about those two women from time to time. I think about the love I witnessed whenever a ride I am on comes to a stop. I think about it when I go to Disneyland and my feet hurt or the lines are long, and I’m forgetting to be grateful. I think about the love so palpable and strong that the memory of them has stayed with me ever since. And when I think about it, I send a positive thought and some warm light to those two women, and into the Universe because surely there are other parents also carrying their children in many ways and for many reasons, someplace, every place, at any given time. As I think about them, and that the rest of us have the ability to not groan at a seeming inconvenience, I also think that most of us even have the ability to help, give, and share our time and resources when someone needs it.
So, today, after I got all choked up reading about Robert and Maddy Van Beek, I was reminded of those two women at Disneyland and the power of love. I was thinking that especially as we come into this *gasp* *dares to say it* election season, I wanted to share what I witnessed and my hope. Going into November, and for always, I hope we purposefully think, act, and vote in ways that lift each other up.