Sunday, August 29, 2010
I just learned that our local art museum will be hosting an exhibition showcasing the life of Diana, Princess of Wales. I can hardly wait to attend, and I anticipate I'll visit more than once.
I enthused over this remarkable opportunity to a couple of friends, and, much to my surprise, they didn't take me seriously! They were convinced I was poking fun, putting on a show of sarcastic excitement.
But no, I really am excited!
So why, I wondered, would my anticipation seem so out-of-character? What do I portray that would belie this long-held fascination? Then I was reminded of the responses of friends when I expressed excitement over a visit to Disney's Magic Kingdom. Identical. Surprise, disbelief, raised eyebrows.
Well, here it is. (I think) Both of these experiences instilled in me, at a very malleable age, a sense of magic. Dreams come true, romance on a magnificent scale, adrenaline and fireworks and sentiment writ large.
Now, I know all too well that life, and our world, specialize in broken dreams. Most magic gets steam-rollered in its earliest stages--and in fact, the longer it survives intact, the more deeply the pain of its rupture. This is probably my predominant perspective on the matter, and it would explain the skepticism of my friends in the face of an almost naive embrace of sentiment and fairy dust.
But I believe, also, that life holds for each of us a measure of magic. A moment at sunset, the gleam of a full moon, a flash of deep connection with another human being. And this sense of magic is one we can foster or crush. For some unexplainable reason, the chaos of Diana's marriage and early death, and the capitalist dreams-for-sale force of Disney's empire have failed to steal from me the sense of magic that each still conjures. Rationally, I can observe and detail these great failings. Experientially, I love the rush I feel when either one comes to mind. And I do believe that I'm a better person for it. I recognize (all too often) the harsh realities of our world, but I want to be open to the beauty and joy of it, too.
I want to be the sort of person who can fall under a spell, if just for a moment, and be immersed in the wonder of it all.
(Image borrowed from the internet - it's so widely posted I can't seem to find its original source! Perhaps it appeared out of thin air?)