Once upon a time, when my sister and I were small, our fairy godmother, our Nana, lived in a magic room at our house. Sometimes, when we wanted to play, she would open the door and pick me up and throw me on the bed. Ella and I would hide under the covers and she would bounce the bed up and down, and we would laugh. Sometimes, we would climb into bed with her and read stories and snuggle or take a nap.
Well….at least that is how I think Greyson would tell the story of my stay at his house when I first relocated from Syracuse to North Carolina. He was a toddler and probably doesn’t actually remember, but I do. I will never forget.
I would travel during the week in the 19 counties my organization covered and come back to their home for weekends. So on Saturdays, when he and his twin sister, Ella, got up, I would be in the guest room, and then I’d disappear on Monday mornings. Sometimes I would pop in mid-week for meetings in Raleigh and when they got up, I’d be there.
Once, when I had gone to the kitchen for coffee, I saw the two of them approach the guest room. Grey peered in, closed the door, and quickly opened it. He looked in again, then he closed it a second time and this time threw it open. At that moment, I walked up behind them and asked what he was doing. While Ella squealed, he threw his arms around me. “There you are,” he said and turned back to his sister. “See, Ella, magic.” Somehow, in his almost two year old mind, he thought my comings and goings were magical, and he could make me appear if he wished for me and opened the door. Grey being Grey, he wanted to be generous to his sister and show Ella how to make the magic work.
Oh, if only we could keep that same sense of wonder forever. Or barring that, how delightful it would be if adults would abandon our relentless need to disprove and disapprove of childhood “magic.” Kids thrive on it. They don’t need us to give it to them, they know where it is. They just need space and time to go to the magic rooms in their minds. And once there, they don’t need doses of reality. In fact, we’re the ones who need to heed their lesson: we need more of their imagination.
You see. Grey taught me that adults live in the everyday way too much. My world certainly contained him and his sister that Saturday morning 6 years ago. But my vision was a different gray, filled with “have to” and “must” and what was next on the list of endless tasks I ticked off, but never completed. Grey not only showed Ella the magic, he helped me remember it. He reminded me that something good happens in our souls when we enter the world of imagination where dolls and Star Wars “guys” have adventures, where an empty box or an empty room becomes magic.
When we do, it’s a little like resurrection. Our shriveled spirits breathe again. We may be people of earth, dust, and ashes, running back and forth, like the bees outside my window, making sure our families have the stuff they need to survive. But we are more than that. We need more than survival to thrive and be whole. Our souls long for a bit of heaven.
Grey made me remember my love for writing and story-telling. It’s my childhood imagination renewed. So today, on this lovely spring morning, I’m sharing Grey’s lesson with you: do something magical. Sit in the sun, write something, putter in your garden, walk and daydream, play with a child, paint a picture, read a novel….open the door and let the wonder fill you.