Whenever I was “on property” (that’s insider talk for being somewhere at the Walt DisneyWorld Resorts…), I would always get a thrill when people would say,
Are you a cast member?
Sometimes people wouldn’t even ask that. They would just ask me where in the park I worked. And when I would tell them that I didn’t work there, nine times out of ten they would try to convince me to apply for a job there.
You just have that look. You just seem like a cast member.
They would say to me. Of course, I would just be beside myself–it would make my day.
As time went by, I could generally count on it happening about once each time I was on property.
I loved it.
I think the “magic” of Disney–the kindness, the listening-to-inspiration-to-help-people habit, the smiling, the genuine interest in other people’s having a good time–the “pixie dust” if you will–I think part of it was already in me, but being there, I just soaked in all of it that was around me.
Pixie dust is in my veins.
I realize now, that I have been infected and it’s incurable.
And I have been thinking about this question for a long time–
Are you a cast member?
Antonio, in The Merchant of Venice says,
I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;
A stage where every man must play a part…
And I have been thinking of my life and thinking about how it really is like a stage–the world–this mortal experience–and how there have been times in my life that I really wanted to watch from the sidelines, and there have even been times when I have found myself offstage, in the shadows.
I have thought about how often in my life, I have forgotten my lines or said them wrong. I have thought about how much I did not commit to the play.
And then, after the spinal meningitis, everything changed.
I embraced the story, and I agreed to be cast in whatever part Heaven chose to put me in, and I decided I was going to devote all of my soul to it.
I agreed to be a cast member.
I signed on the greatest, longest running show on earth–the play of humanity. The play of love and life.
And the audience is everyone I meet–and I want them to be moved, touched, happier, inspired…
And the other cast members with whom I am closest–my family–I want them to really feel that the backstage me is even better. Which is hard. I am working on it.
I don’t know what parts I will play in the future, but I do know that I will play them well. I know that for the many things I have suffered, there will be more suffering at some point–and I know that there will be more joy.
There is always that stage fright–that few seconds where I panic and think, “What am I doing here?” but I know also that as soon as I take that first step into the lights, it goes away and there is a kind of strange calm that washes over me as I say my lines and become one with the scene and the characters.
At Disney, cast members like Nadine say things like this:
“I love mostly that it’s family to family interaction. Their families are coming to visit our family and they’re leaving their worries at the door kind of like we leave our worries in our cars and we come into work. We’re there to create magic…
“Come to this job knowing it’s more than just a job, it’s an experience. It is like you’re on a nonstop show. You are on stage you are personifying everything that Walt Disney is supposed to be. You’re not coming to work just for yourself, you are the company.”
I’ve thought a lot about that.
I love that as a cast member of Heaven’s play, it’s family to family. We are all in this together. We are all one, big family of brothers and sisters.
What I didn’t realize was how much of a difference it has made to leave my worries behind and truly get to work, because I, I am here to create magic.
The kind of magic that isn’t just an illusion–but deeper magic, “from before the dawn of time,” the magic that comes when I act as Christ and work for Him and I become as He is, even for the briefest moments…
It is really a nonstop, fantastic, incredible show.
And when I am personifying everything Heaven is supposed to be, I become part of it. Not just when the sun is shining, but even in the rain, during the hurricanes, and in the midst of earthquakes.
I love being a cast member.
I love this part of the play.
And I have found, as I have been playing my part, my heart is so much…bigger and lighter.
As Tico, another cast member said:
“It’s kind of funny – sometimes when you make magic, the magic comes back to you.”