Magic & Miracles

While walking into school on a recent morning, my 5-year old called attention to his gloved hands. “Look,” he said as he opened them and closed them around each other “it’s magic!”. Without understanding exactly what we were pretending, I was luckily able to give him the appropriate, expected, astonished response. He was happy. My 7-year-old opened his eyes wide, giving us both a look of amused exasperation. “Ummm, that is not magic. It’s his hands moving.” We all laughed. Then I said to him “Actually, that totally is magic. Six years ago, he didn’t even exist. Eight years ago, you didn’t. Yet here we are, walking from our car into school, where your hands will move, your brains will learn, and your hearts will beat all day. That’s pretty magical if you ask me.”

My boys are used to me, so they half accepted my words as truth, and half went on with their Kindergarten and 2nd grade lives. The conversation made me remember trying to take a photo of them and their contemporary cousins over the holiday. Seven kids, my oldest being the oldest, packed onto a couch on top of each other with their individual personalities front and center. None of them were very focused on the task at hand but would intermittently smile, looking in any direction they pleased. The youngest cousin was fully enamored with his left hand, having no use for any other object or event around him. Holy crow! He seemed to think This thing is totally attached to me! He obviously saw the magic, too.

To many, it would seem like this sweet little boy was wrapped up in his own abstract world. Realistically, though, he was more in this physical world than anyone else in that room. It was him and his hand. Tangible and fascinating. It’s like that with children and babies. Watching the world unfold for them is a wonder. And it should be. Before each of us are born, our bodies, our senses, our perceptions, ideas, and understandings did not exist. There is nothing more present, more in the moment, more real or more miraculous than his, or your, or my left hand. And yet, as we grow, we forget to notice it entirely. I mean, really, without looking at it now could you describe your left hand in detail? Or your right? Or your nose for that matter? I mean, it’s right there on your face! We dismiss the magic of our very selves as we grow and learn of the world around us. Often, we allow that which surrounds us to become the center of our attention and dismiss the magic, the miracle, of just who we are here in this moment.

During a recent interview, Dr. Laurie Santos mentioned that she had once spoken with a psychologist who worked with a lot of financially wealthy people. He mentioned that many of the people that he worked with would admit that the first billion dollars that they made did not bring them the happiness that they had expected, but that they were certain that the second billion would. Seems crazy, right? I agree, it is crazy. And it also who many of us have become. Not a world full of billionaires, but a culture designed to desire the next “big” thing, the next exterior incentive. We ceaselessly look outside of ourselves for gratification, even for acceptance and understanding. It could be the next job, promotion, child, relationship, compliment, or like on social media. The next is what we desire and when we have it, it is the one after that. Our motives and self-worth become almost entirely externally focused. By consistently letting the exterior engulf our interior, we lose the ability to be genuinely happy. The miracles of self and simplicity are forgotten. And when we lose ourselves, the world loses out on what we have to offer. That’s a lot of losing in a “winning” culture.

So, what hippie girl, am I just supposed to spend 20-minutes each day tripping over the miracle of my nose? If you have the time… YES! But, let’s be honest, most of us don’t. We do though have eyes to see the sun greet us each morning. We have skin to feel the wind on our faces. We have lungs to breathe air and hearts to pump blood. We have tears that flow when we are overcome with emotion. We have feet to feel the earth and ears to hear the birds bring us music. Our lives are miraculous; each and every one. And it takes only one second to notice and appreciate that magic. It’s cliché and I say it often, by you sincerely are the only you that this world has. The only one. What could possibly be more magical and miraculous than that?! What reward could be greater than just being here on this earth?!

The youngest cousin, whom I mentioned earlier, struggles with an unimaginable diagnosis. In the short time that he has spent on this earth so far, his small body has faced and overcome challenges that most grown adults could not begin to comprehend, let alone contend. And yet there he was, safe and surrounded by love, enjoying the miracle and wonder of just being here on earth, in his beautiful body. He discovers, overcomes, and explores every day; sharing his joy with those closest to him. There is no reason, outside of our own making, that we need to miss the magic in our lives. Nothing but our own minds to distance us from the miracle of just being here. So I invite you to take even one second of each day simply being, observing and appreciating all that you are and all that you have in this fascinating world. And remember, dear one and only you, that you truly are a miracle.

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