"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Monday, January 26, 2015

Do I believe in magic?

When I was little, my imagination sometimes bled into reality. I would spend an afternoon trying to climb up sunbeams. I had imaginary friends AND pets. I believed that if I dug into my memories hard enough, I could remember who I was before I was born.

My mother had quite a number of talks with me because she was afraid people thought I was crazy. 

To add to the mix, my family attended a Baptist church, where they believed that all kinds of miracles went down in the Old and New Testaments, but not anymore. The Age of Magic had ended.

Eventually, I packed up my magical thinking and put it on a shelf. Logic became my passion (yes, I had a major crush on Mr. Spock), emotions were my enemy, and software engineering was in my future. I spent 30 years designing, developing, and testing code for a living, and trying to keep my life in the logical zone outside the office. And yet...



I began to think about the hubris that told me that nothing existed outside my own senses. Colors existed outside of my natural eyesight. Dogs could hear sounds my ears could not detect. I breathe air I cannot see. What right had I to expect everything in this world to be easily revealed to me, or revealed at all? 

When I became pregnant with Marcus, I spent nine months in wonderment. When he was born, I was in awe. You could show me all kinds of charts with eggs and sperm and zygotes, etc, but they all miss one crucial step: How did one set of cells from me and one set from Dale spark LIFE?



Magic seeped from the box where I'd stored it, and nagged at me. 

Lately, there have been - oddities - in my life. Things my magical side points to and says, "There! See that? I was right!" Things my logical side pushes away, pooh-poohs, and laughs at, albeit a little nervously. Sometimes when I'm alone, I feel like I'm being prodded by something, and a relative who has died pops into my mind. One day, it felt like my mind was being bombarded from the outside, and my grandparents and parents were running through my mind on the inside. I actually said, aloud, "You people have got to back up and give me some space."

Call me crazy, but I felt a lot calmer after I said it.

So now I'm wondering what I believe in. Could it be there is a layer of existence that I cannot see, but occasionally cross paths with? Or am I trying to climb sunbeams again, in my old age?

2 comments:

Claudia Whitsitt said...

Sometimes I wonder if it's our age, because I've had similar musings of late. Over Christmas, my grandmother, who died twenty-three years ago, spent some time with me, shining down on me, smiling. I could see the twinkling in her eyes and hear her melodic, soothing voice. It was real.

The next minute, I'm remembering the moment of my first daughter's birth and thinking nothing more magical ever happens in a woman's life, except the birth of her subsequent children, and then there's the fact that a woman can give birth to a member of the opposite sex. Well, don't even get me started.

Maybe part of what we are experiencing is the wisdom gathered from years of years living. Looking back, time is so fleeting. We know how fast the past twenty years went, so the next twenty? Makes you treasure the magical moments all the more. If we can create our own, why not?

kabell4 said...

re: "Could it be there is a layer of existence that I cannot see, but occasionally cross paths with?"

It's love. As a line from the movie Interstellar profoundly stated: "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space." It's the one line from the movie that really, really made me cry - thinking of and remembering all the people I love and have loved throughout my life.

It's the love we have for those we've lost that makes them still so real to us, even after many years apart. It's the love we have for those we've given birth to that keeps everything about their young lives so fresh in our minds despite them being all grown up and living somewhere apart from us.

The love that transcends time and space is the magic we sense exists, but which we can't always see.

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