Strapped in at 30,000 feet in a space way too small for us regular folk is an awfully strange place to feel connected to the ground. But I was feeling it. In fact, every cell in my body was zinging in anticipation of foot upon earth.
After all, I had just spent the last five days walking around Disney World. My first time. The guidebook had warned that it was possible to walk twenty-five miles a day… “Yeah, right,” I thought. We walked, and we walked, walked some more, and kept on walking.
And here I was, in mid-air, reading a wickedly funny account of The Camino—the sacred 500-kilometre peregrination to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. I marveled that as I read, my legs were itching to continue walking on our own pilgrimage. That in this strange Universe where the Oneness breaks through even our most rigid filters, the Camino and Disney World were one and the same. And I had been a pilgrim setting foot on Holy Ground.
Yes, I was one of those who openly scoffed at the consumerist sinkhole that Disney seemingly represented. And yet I had felt a deep and unexpected sense of otherworldly enchantment there and a palpable joy sparkling in the energy all around us. That magic settled on me like a comforting shroud for weeks after our trip ended.
As I read of the near obsession The Camino evokes in some who return year after year to the grueling journey, I began to see that Disney was a mirror image, perhaps of a gentler variety.
My ideology went straight out the window and fell 30,000 feet.
We came back to earth. Weary and happy we passed through customs back home. The officer looked suspiciously at the big fat $0 I had written on my declaration card. “Where did you go?” she asked. “Disney World,” my daughter replied. “And you didn’t buy anything?!” “Toques … we bought toques because it was cold,” piped in my son (how appropriate that even our pious heads were covered on The Camino de Disney). She scribbled something on our card that I strongly suspected meant a baggage inspection later on. I chuckled.
Sure enough, the next officer pulled us aside. I openly laughed and told him, “I guess she just couldn’t believe someone could go to Disney for the experience and not the stuff!” His eyes gave me a once-over. He must have felt the truth in my presence, because he let us go continue on to our journey’s end … ah, home.
Now, imagine you’re walking along minding your own business when you catch sight of a fire. And out of nowhere a booming voice says, ““Moses! Moses! Take off your sandals because the place where you are standing is Holy Ground.” Pretty freaky, eh? Forget the unnaturally burning bush and the disembodied voice, what do feet and footwear have to do with it?!
Where and how I stand informs who I am as a pilgrim in this world.
Right now, wherever you are … look down at your feet. YOU ARE ON HOLY GROUND! Will you take off your shoes?