Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NIV)
I am not an amusement park aficionado. Partly because having been practically raised at Disney World when imagineers had the money and power to make things truly magical and cleanliness and attention to detail were paramount, modern day theme parks don’t measure up. Nor am I a fan of roller coasters, but I am a reader. One of my favorite sets of books are the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. After almost a year of hearing family and friends rave about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, I gave in to temptation when husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday and asked for a trip to see Harry. The imagery of Pumpkin Juice, wand selection ceremonies, chocolate toads, exploding candy, talking portraits, flying brooms and singing plants drew me in. On the advice of a friend, we reserved a hotel room that allowed early access into the park. I cringed over the cost, but wanted to get in to see Harry before the crowds. As it turned out, many of the people go home early so Harry Potter’s world was less crowded in the evening as well. It was fun seeing the village and Hogwarts Express, drinking Butterbeer and browsing the shops. It was exactly like I imagined it to be. Though we had planned only to go into the park to find some dinner, with a sign promising only a twenty minute wait for the ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Adventure, along with another couple who traveled with us, we ventured in snaking through lines in an oversized greenhouse under hanging baskets of dying plants and through the giant doors where cleverly done 3D videos as the portraits and characters told the story of what we were to see. Then, the line came to a dead stop with periodic announcements apologizing for the wait. An hour later, husband and one of our friends left the line to get out of the claustrophobic space. My other friend and I discussed leaving also but we were so close we could see the place where we got onto the ride. Finally, it started again. When my friend and I ended up in the wrong line and were separated, I found myself alone on a very dark and scary flight over Hogwarts with Harry leading the way. I had no idea that it would be so rough. When I stumbled off the ride so dizzy and sick that I couldn’t remember the locker number where I had stored my camera, my friend came to my rescue. Outside, we joined our husbands who were hungry, and in the case of mine, very grumpy. Life is like an amusement park. There are ups and downs, happy moments and sad, times of fear and joy. Though, we don’t always know what is around the corner, thankfully, we do not travel alone. Christ is always there, not waiting at the end, but in the seat right next to us.