There is a LOT of shit in the world and a lot of heartaches, and from my position of privilege, I will never know what it is to truly be without, so I speak with caution when I say that there is also so much beauty even in the most troubling of times.
There are the smiles of strangers and the cuddles of puppies. There are bright yellow daisies growing out of sidewalks, and people who dance down the street on their way to work. There is that first moment you realize someone is just a little bit cute and you feel a little butterfly flapping in your belly. There are sunsets, and rainy days, and brilliant books, and there is the smell of the fresh sea air. There is hot tea on sad days, there are trees that have seen more than most people and who continue to give us life, there are squirrels who bury acorns and only find 20 percent of them, and the other 80 percent become those trees, and there is so much magic in the ordinary.
There is that incredible Dad from Gaza who made sure that his children had fun and laughed, despite all the heartache and trauma. He made sure that they had a wonderful bath, despite that very bath being all that survived when their house was shattered. He made the ordinary come alive amid all the ruins that surrounded him. What could have only been trauma, was transformed by him into a moment of childhood wonder. The smiles on their faces and the light in their eyes just warms your heart so much that it could burst.
So often we are made to feel like we need to live these extraordinary lives, and in that pursuit, we often lose site of the smaller, seemingly insignificant moments, that are actually the most magical things. Think back to your own childhood for a moment. What sticks with you? Was it the A grade that you got in a test after missing an entire weekend of fun, studying? Was it the pressure of stressing about who you were going to be? The days you didn’t feel very pretty, or clever, or confident and tried to change yourself so you would fit in?
Or was it the silly things. Having a bath in a big bucket because your parents didn’t have a pool? Making pancakes on a Tuesday afternoon? Visiting the library and choosing a selection of books? Laughing with a friend so much that you clutched your belly in agony and proceeded to vomit in her Dad’s car, (and upon her seeing your vomit, she felt so ill that she vomited)…… (Yes, this actually happened, but that is a tale for another day!)
One of my fondest memories is walking from a train station on a rainy afternoon in Surrey with my Dad. It was absolutely pouring with rain and for the entire duration of the walk, we sang Gene Kelly’s Singing in the Rain. We were soaked, but with shivering skin, and chattering teeth, the ordinary came alive that day, and that moment has stayed with me forever. And now I have even started tap dancing classes. These weekly classes bring me immense joy, and I literally leave each lesson with a massive grin on my face. Could that rainy Surrey afternoon have inspired that love? Are the little moments of ordinary delight, bigger chain reactions that in fact make our lives?
Despite all the painful stuff, there is love, and love doesn’t see pay checks or fancy cars, or ancestry, or blood group, or status. Love sees a rainy afternoon and makes a song of it. Love sees ruin and despair, but chooses to focus on the bath that survived. Love just loves, and it makes everything just a little bit softer. It creates that landing space that we all need at the end of a tough day. And for all the shit that happens, I am happy to live in a world where there is love. Where people fight for freedom every damn day, and showcase their immense bravery and courage in even the most troubling and oppressive of times. If these things aint magic, then I don’t know what is.
So, in the words of one of my favourite writers,
Next time you are feeling ordinary (we say that like it’s a bad thing!), or not very successful, or not very sparkly, I want you to ask yourself this. Have you loved this week? Have you made someone laugh? Have you done your bit of good? Have you made someone’s world just a little bit brighter? If you can leave everything you touch, just a little bit better than it was when you arrived, you are in fact extraordinary. Please find magic in the small moments. Please stop to smell a flower, or to explore the intricate markings of a butterfly. Please ask the teller at the shop how their day was, and please give yourself a little bit of credit. Smile at that stranger walking down the street, over-tip the waiter, play with your child when they want to play, and find the magic in the smallest and seemingly most insignificant of things. Because one day you will look back and realize that they were in fact the big things. They were all small patches on the tapestry of your life, and each of them contained a little piece of magic.