“All you need is faith, trust and a little bit of Pixie Dust.”
~ Peter Pan
You know the story of “Peter Pan,” but do you know that Peter Pan once inspired the growth of a hospital for children of the poor?
It’s true. I looked it up, having only a faint memory of the history of “Peter Pan” for myself, and confirmed that the story of “Peter Pan,” a work by Sir J.M. Barrie, contributed to the growth of the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, England — a hospital that still benefits from the story today.
According to the hospital’s website, the hospital opened in 1852 with only two 10-bed wards, and it opened to provide care to the children of the poor while at the same time encouraging clinical research and training for pediatric nursing.
Sir Barrie and his wife had no children of their own, but they loved children dearly and they supported the work of the London hospital for many years.
On December 14, 1929, at Barrie’s suggestion, the cast of a London production of “Peter Pan” visited the hospital, and the cast played out the scene from the nursery for young patients there. The tradition continued over time, and after Barrie gave the hospital all rights to “Peter Pan” that same year, proceeds from the play helped the hospital to grow in size and scope.
There you have it.
Peter Pan, the brave boy with green tights and a feather in his cap, has been a true inspiration of faith and trust in the real world. In fact, during a benefit dinner, the author of Peter Pan’s story claimed that Pan had himself been a patient in the children’s hospital.
Do you believe in Magic?
The story of Peter Pan is magic.
It’s not just a story about the Lost Boys, who would probably be an impossible challenge for any gaurdian if they all lived in the same house — or in the same tree hole. It’s also a story about faith and trust, and renewing genuine feelings which get lost or buried over time, as we all face the trials of a complex world.
It’s not just a story about being grossed out by grown-ups, because they are too serious or they don’t indulge children in their childish games. It’s a story that reminds us that we were all children once, and that childish innocence is pure and unspoiled, unrestrained. It reminds us that we can all be children; even as adults, we can be children-at-heart and be youthful in our daily lives, letting happiness win over hardship.
I surround myself with several stories that remind me to be youthful — stories that remind me not to take life too seriously and that there will always be time left to be a kid. And I believe that this is real magic, when you let yourself go, stop worrying about what other people think and move freely through space and time, as if the point of living is to have fun, as if the meaning of life is to be happy.
Faith and Trust
For me, the concepts of faith and trust have been very difficult these many months. My world has been rocked at its core, but I have challenged myself to continue to do the things that hold meaning for me and the things that make me happy, such as playing childish games and watching “Peter Pan.”
If you like Disney movies, watch the sequel that Disney made to Peter Pan: “Return to Neverland.” Wendy’s daughter Jane is growing up during World War II, and all hope seems to be lost for her happiness. Wendy, as a mother, speaks of Faith and Trust, and Jane says, “Faith, Trust, Pixie Dust?! Mother, those are just words from your stories. They’re not real.”
A song plays, saying “There is no such thing as faith, and trust… and Pixie Dust.” And I bawl every time, because I too have come so precariously close to losing hope.
There are even twins among the Lost Boys, and I notice that these two characters are some of the first in the movie to help Jane find it in herself to “Think of a happy thought,” and fly.
A little bit of Pixie Dust
On Sunday, a young boy helped me to renew my faith and trust, as for me it ebbs and flows with the pain of events that have happened over this past year.
Matt’s younger brother indulged me in playful games, as I drew a map of his own house for him, leading him to clues that would help solve the mystery that was foremost in his mind. Excitingly jumping through the house and speaking at volumes to match our excitement, we bounded around, being together in a genuine way that felt refreshing and full of life.
After a wonderful card game that brought the whole family together — children and grown-ups alike — he knew exactly what movie he wanted to watch that afternoon. The sequel to Peter Pan!
And it was perfect. As Matt and I bundled up with his younger brother all on one couch, we watched the movie, all getting sucked into the plot and watching with suspense. And as the little girl found her faith again and began to believe in Peter Pan and Neverland, and the story ended, I scooped up the little guy with everything I had in me.
He didn’t even wiggle or flinch as I held him so tight, though I confess I was deeply saddened over the loss of my twin brothers at the time. But children don’t care about any of that.
Children love unconditionally. And his unconditional love was right there, restoring me, holding me up in a time of weakness and sorrow.
And with a little bit of Pixie Dust — that magical material that children are born with, but can sometimes dry up as adult problems blow in…
With a little bit of Pixie Dust, I came back. And I am here now, in the present, and I am ready to tackle a brand new day.
“I can fly!”