I remember Friday, March 13, 2020. In February Covid19 was a growing concern in other countries. By March it was spreading through The United States with cases slowly showing up in the Midwest and Rocky Mountain areas. I was curious. I listened to the reports, but pretty much went along with my normal routine. Until March 13, 2020. That was the day Disneyland closed.
I heard the announcement on the news and quickly called my husband who was out of town. Before he said hello, I blurted out,
“They are closing Disneyland!!!”
To me, that was a tipping point. They were closing the happiest place on earth. Disneyland had only closed three times since it opened in 1955. For the national day of mourning after John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, the earthquake of 1994, and for September 11, 2001.This was serious. This was SERIOUS.
We all know the plot of the story. State by state, city by city, restaurant by restaurant things shut down. We locked our doors and secured our hearts in cocoons of safety.
We joined in living the same story. We began making masks. Zoom became our new gathering space. Curbside grocery pickups became the way to get out of the house and takeout food deliveries became our new date nights. We learned to teach our kids at home and kitchen tables became our workplaces. Holidays were small and personal. Travel became a walk to the mailbox. We watched the numbers climb and said goodbye to loved ones. Sadness, grief, and loss became our main conversation topics.
The story should not have been about politics. The story should not have been about the validity of science. The conversation should have been about love with questions like: Do you love yourself enough to stay safe and healthy? Do you love your family, friends, and community enough to support and respect their health and safety? Do you respect them for how they choose to do that?
The flowers of spring, the heat of summer, pumpkins of fall, and the snow of winter blurred together as we counted the days off the calendar. Now a new spring has filled our lives with vaccinations and hope. The numbers are showing promise. People are coming out of their homes. Lines are forming in airports. Businesses are opening.
After my first vaccination, I remained cautious. I wondered if I knew how to do it – how to get back into the world. I have never been a person who dives right into the cold pool water. I am more of a tiptoe-er. I ease in letting the water slowly work its way higher and higher, allowing my body to adjust. I began visualizing how my reentry to life would be.
My second vaccination brought tingles of excitement and anticipation. I felt like I was walking in a little deeper and the water was rising over my legs. When I passed the mark of being two weeks post my second vaccination it was time. I hugged my grandchildren. I went into stores. I ate in a restaurant. I quickly learned where I felt comfortable and where I did not. I hugged my grandchildren again and again. I am still not diving in the deep end, but I feel pretty good about being waist-high in the water.
I said in the beginning of this pandemic that I felt the most important lessons are learned in the most difficult of times. I believe the way we take care of ourselves has changed. I hope we have learned how to wash our hands more. I hope we have learned that we may not all agree, but we can experience the same story and respect the way others interpret it. I hope we have learned how to slow down, how to care for each other, and how to appreciate what and who we have in our lives. I hope that we have learned to love each other a little more.
We may be moving at different speeds, in different chapters, or experiencing different versions- but we are in the same story. Whether we tiptoe or dive we will all get back into the water. And guess what, the happiest place on earth is coming back. After being closed for 413 days, Disneyland opens next week!
Pennie’s Life Lesson: “We can all experience and understand the same story in different ways.”
Pennie Heart to Heart
THE DAY THEY CLOSED DISNEYLAND
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There is a certain magic about where I live both physically and spiritually – on the crossroads of Spirit and Brave.
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