Attending the International Book Fair in Bologna, Italy.

Do you believe in magic?

Chances are likely that your answer to no, but what if you’re not among the norm? 

Consideration of the magical hit me twice recently. The first occurred as I read a Yahoo headline. Televangelist Pat Robertson was explaining why Americans don’t witness miracles in the U.S. like common people do in Africa (answer: we are much too educated). The second arose during an evening yoga class when our instructor informed us that she was giving her 7-year-old son “one more year” to believe in the Easter Bunny.

These two unrelated remarks got me thinking. 

During that yoga class, I began ruminating about the wonderful, fantastic and extraordinary side of life. It’s likely available, but we deny it as false and therefore fail to experience its effects.  

Chapter Break New Hearts

“You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight . . . You’ve got to be carefully taught!”

~ lyrics from South Pacific

I’ve taken some liberty with the above lyrics which speaks of parents teaching racial hatred to their offspring, but you’ll get the idea.

If you’re like most, your parents taught you early on to believe in wonders. Delightful stories about Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and a multitude of fairy tales were likely placed in your head. 

But in similar fashion, those same parents eventually recanted every magical story they previously purveyed. 

Society dictates that children taught to believe in fantasy when young must also, ultimately, learn the “truth”: There is no Magic in Life.  

Chapter Break New Hearts

Contorting myself into yoga positions during class that night, I extended my thoughts to religion. Parents diligently teach their offspring to believe in God, angels, apparitions and even life after death.

But the same adult figures who remind children to stop believing in Santa turn disappointed when some of their offspring grow up no longer believing in the supernatural.

Parents may hope to sow some of their own unrealized dreams into the next generation by teaching them to believe in the magical. Yet, as if answering to social norms, they feel an equal obligation to school their kids in the so-called realities of life: Miracles don’t happen and magic is just for little kids. 

By the time most of us reach adulthood, childhood dreams are relegated to just that: Dreams.

Chapter Break New Hearts

As a child, I was both practical and spiritually minded. I brought up disturbing questions about my Catholic religion when doctrines were randomly, rather than universally, applied.

Despite contradictory and illogical teachings, religion never managed to quell my belief in Benevolence. My faith in the Wonderful never departed. 

Whether this belief opened me to surprises in life, I can’t be sure. However, I can report more than a few experiences that refuted science and common sense. 

For example, I was desperation decades ago when my husband and I had moved to Florida and we were applying for our first mortgage. I needed a job and felt a huge responsibility before me.

One morning, and I knelt down to pray:

“Dear God, I know what job I want. But I want to know the job You want me to have. Tell me what it is . . .. ”

The phone rang and interrupted my plea, even as I was still on the carpet. The voice of Mike McNamara, the man who would become my future Sales Manager, spoke:

“Maura,” he asked,  “have you decided to take the job?”

His call came from the job I definitely didn’t want. But accepting this as a clear response to my appeal for supernatural guidance, I accepted his offer on the spot. Within three months, Mike elevated me to supervisor of the team and several promotions followed. Being part of an emerging industry provided me with gifts of unexpected personal and professional growth.  

A Request for Diamonds

Chapter Break New Hearts

Decades later, I encountered another magical moment which transcended the ordinary. That day, I felt prompted to suspend my own prayer requests and instead ask the Unseen Almighty what He wanted me to ask for that day.

The response arrived immediately.

“Ask me for diamonds.”

What? Surely, I reasoned, such an ungodly and materialistic message had to be coming from some demonic source. Prayers for world peace, food for the hungry or an end to human suffering would have been far more appropriate.

Yet one day later, prompted to proffer the same request, I received an identical answer:

“Ask me for diamonds.”

Obediently, though still perplexed, I mumbled:

“Okay, God, I’m not sure what’s happening here, but I’m going to ask You for diamonds.”

A few days later, my family and I visited my girlfriend’s condo to celebrate Easter Sunday with her and her family. When we sat down to eat, she presented me with a familiar, 1-carat solitaire diamond set in a simple gold necklace.

Alternately confused and elated, I felt suspended in the moment. The diamond was an inheritance piece from my late Aunt Mae. Precious to me, the diamond had been lost for years following an unfortunate visit I’d made to a medical office. Despite numerous inquiries and pursuits, Aunt Mae’s diamond was never seen again. 

Yet fifteen years after its disappearance and in obedience to an unorthodox request, Aunt Mae’s diamond was being presented to me anew. The sentimental gem had apparently been “rediscovered” inside an old Louie Vuitton portfolio I’d passed along to my friend. Apparently, a bothersome clanging sound caused her to make inquiry into the source. Slitting the bag’s inner lining, Joan unearthed a precious jewel. With it, she renewed a connection to my great Aunt Mae.

The experience marked an exhilarating and hopeful life event for me that pointed to a Force beyond our normative and common experiences.

Perhaps there remains a future day when the rest of those diamonds I was prompted to ask for will be presented. Their presentation may intersect with some unexpected purpose, arrive for a greater good or maybe they’ll just be there for my personal enjoyment.

That night, I left yoga class feeling happy and realized yet again how I enjoy making room for life’s magic. My age is way beyond 6 or 7 or 8, but you can count me among those who want to be in the middle of marvelous and extraordinary possibilities.

I’m happy to announce that I still believe in magic – and I hope you do, too! 

Maura Sweeney as both child and adult

Maura Sweeney is an International Speaker on Influence, Leadership and Emotional Intelligence

Find her podcasts on iTunes and Stitcher

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