Monday, January 19, 2015

Imagination Celebration

Walt Disney: "George Banks and all he stands for will be saved. Maybe not in life, but in imagination. Because that's what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again and again and again."

Ted and I just celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary.  Movie night is Saturday, more than likely movie-at-home night, so Saturday before last,  I talked him into watching "Saving Mr. Banks," which happened to be recorded on my DVR.  I watched the movie last year, in fact, I went to the theater by myself and saw it.

"You'll really like this movie Ted, it is a good story, a back-story of a childhood favorite--Mary Poppins!"

"Who said 'Mary Poppins' was my favorite, I don't think so! I'm more of a Davy Crockett sort of guy!"

The chest flares and the hands go in the air, cocking an imaginary rifle. 

We settled in and at first he wasn't too engaged, but I saw a shift, enjoying the character of P.L. Travers played by Emma Thompson and her determination to "own" her story; refusing to compromise in any way and give in to  Mr. Disney's silliness.

Sympathy shifts back and forth in the movie, for the song writers and Walt to get this film made and for the "little girl"/ stubborn woman, who wrote her story for other reasons, for her own healing. She wants to remember things differently, bring herself peace. She allowed her imagination to write a better ending--a new ending. You begin to understand this as the story returns to the author's childhood.  Mr. Disney would also identify with Mr. Banks for his own reasons.

Monday comes around with our anniversary looming, and Ted suggests: "Let's go to Disneyland, have dinner there for our anniversary!"

It's hard for Ted to go to Disneyland; the rides aren't too accommodating for someone needing two knee replacements. We really take it easy when we go.  I made the reservation at the Blue Bayou in New Orleans Square and we were both excited because we'd never been there, always wondered what it was like on the "other side" of the river.

As I recall our evening at the Magic Kingdom and as I think on our 38 year marriage, I can draw similarities.

We come through the tunnel entering the park and we rest a bit on the bench right on the circle of Main Street. It is not too crowded. When we get up, Ted grabs my hand and starts looking for the window--the window where Walt Disney added his own father's name (as shown in the movie).

Elias Disney~ Contractor 

Our first stop is Adventureland!  Isn't marriage an adventure!  Whoo-hoo!  We stop at the first place calling us to entertainment, "The Tiki Room."

C'mom, you know you want to sing along!  

Welcome to our tropical hideaway
You lucky people, you
If we weren't in the show starting right away,
We'd be the audience too
All together
In the tiki, tiki, tiki, tiki, tiki room
In the tiki, tiki, tiki, tiki, tiki room
All the birds sing the words and the flowers croon
In the tiki, tiki, tiki, tiki, tiki room

It kind of was like that for Ted and I in our first years of  "bliss." We went to Hawaii every year for his paddling races. We bought the house, got the Golden Retriever, then the kiddo came along. Life settled in to real adulthood and suburban living. Another kiddo came along. The birds sang and the flowers crooned.

We were cruising through life, doing what we thought were the right things, having fun, enjoying parenthood and suddenly, out of nowhere, an evil sneaked onto our shores, fired cannonballs of struggle. Pirates came to rob us of our peace. One attack came from diagnosis and then kidney disease pushing us onto the plank of worry; others from finances,  in attitudes, loneliness, priorities and responsibilities: an unbalance of ideals and passions. The boat almost sunk.

"Where your treasure is, there lies your heart."

And the demons sing:

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.
We pillage plunder, we rifle and loot.
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.
We kidnap and ravage and don't give a hoot.
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.
Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.
We extort and pilfer, we filch and sack.
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.
Maraud and embezzle and even highjack.
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.
Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.
We kindle and char and in flame and ignite.
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.
We burn up the city, we're really a fright.
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.
We're rascals and scoundrels, we're villains and knaves.
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.
We're devils and black sheep, we're really bad eggs.
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.

The house burned down, Yo Ho! 

We buckled ourselves in--TOGETHER and went on a WiLd RiDe! 
I sat behind the steering wheel. My prayers brought the Lord's guidance, the Lord's forgiveness and a much clearer view of a horizon in which I begin to focus on. Ted reaches for it as well. We moved  down a very uncertain road with twists, turns and detours. We found our way, TOGETHER,  safely delivered within the Lord's protection despite looming obstacles and broken hearts.

Lastly, we arrive in STORYBOOK LAND, where imagination brings healing and writing turns into real stories and Castles and mansions on hills become visible and attainable, promised by a real KING. We're swallowed up by a whale, but not Jonah's whale, a whale that represents Greater Things around the corner.

We're laughing again; laughing at the duck that almost flew into Ted's head and knocked the Mickey ears off the girl sitting next to him!  We're not shaken. It's not an end yet. More chapters await.  

The fireworks light up the sky. They STILL light up the sky. 

And in Tomorrow Land as well. 

This story might have ended one way, but God destines and determines with our cooperation, with our eyes on Him... which ending will be told. With God as our Executive Producer, our story promises a Happily Ever After.

The Blue Bayou can be a dark place if you stay there, but I see the fireflies, the butterflies. They show me a way to imagine and see all the Goodness of the Lord,  to know His Hope as I write His name on the window of my soul.

Apostle Paul: "For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance, we shall wait eagerly for it."  Romans 8:24-25 


  1. I had such a tough time reading this...and an even harder time typing this comment. You see, tears are flowing down too fierce and fast that I can barely see the letters through them. I expected a different type of celebration without pain, loss, trouble. As my family is now deep in sorrow, this post reminds me that there will still be fireworks ahead. Thank you, my friend.

  2. Coleene, you just did what storytellers do! You restored order with imagination for your 38 years with Ted! You instilled hope again and again and again. I can see why you had fun writing this one! Great story telling!

  3. That was beautiful! I loved the Blue Bayou-so peaceful! Amazing Ted could tolerated the walking and glad you were able to enjoy yourselves.