My love affair with Orlando, and how it has loved me back.

Walt Disney World Wishes Fireworks
Walt Disney World Wishes Fireworks

Orlando has always been a sanctuary to me. I've been there 1-3 times a year since I was 4 years old. The people are happier, and the air holds magic. I've fallen in love there, had my heart broken there, celebrated new year of birth there more times than I can count. I had my first real cocktail there, watched sunrises and sunsets that were life affirming there. I have made life long friends there, found peace when I was in a strange place in my life there. And found a future destination to live. It's the only place that I have ever had the actual thought or understanding that humanity and life is precious and world peace seems achievable. Even if it's a conjured feeling from Disney positivity, I have still felt it. When my father found out he was diagnosed with cancer, his first thought he said aloud was "I won't be able to go to Disney anymore". He made it down one final time after that, but a little part of him will always be in the winds of Orlando. That is how important Orlando is to my family, and so many more families. Disney World gives a feeling of hope that I have never experienced anywhere else. Disney and Orlando hold a very special place in my heart... The weather, the palm trees, the friendly nature of everyone who lives there, dusk - my favorite part of the day, is absolute beauty there. To think that a place that has allowed me to rediscover the meaning of zen time and time and TIME again, is going through such unbelievable suffering and tragedy this week, makes my heart as heavy as I have ever experienced. I am sad for our country, for humanity, for the future of the world. The news of one horrendous headline after the other in one town in one week, was absolutely mind numbing to listen to.
To the victims and the families of all of the tragedy that has befallen Orlando this week (two shootings - Christina Grimme, followed by 103 victims at Pulse Nightclub. And then the tragic drowning of baby Lane Graves), all I have to offer is prayer right now, and I am praying. Prayer, tears, and the hope that even one person that sees this will donate to help at least one of these 3 devastating events. Please donate to help the Pulse victims and their families at the link below. Every little bit counts. It may not mean much but it's what I can do and I'm doing it. I hope that we can learn from loss like this to never take today for granted. Try to really understand that notion. Life is precious and could be gone in an instant. ‪#‎orlandostrong‬

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.