My grandma was a magician.
Not the kind prone to cutting grandchildren in half or pulling rabbits out of vintage hats, mind you.
She was an artist. The first real artist I’d ever known. My parents had one of her paintings hanging in their bedroom. It was a big one, a landscape featuring a shimmering blue lake. At the edge of the lake was a small dock with two tiny figures sitting at the end. Me and my brother Dan. It really looked like us, and the landscape was pristine, like a real photograph. I loved staring at that painting, wondering how she did it.
You can’t be exposed to that brand of magic and not have it affect you.
As I pursued art, I felt the presence of that same magic when I’d create a portrait of an athlete that would cause people to say, “Wow, that looks just like him! How did you do that?!”
Then later when one of my comic strips would make someone on the other side of the country laugh out loud.
And I get that same feeling even now, when someone sees something I made, read something I wrote, or hears me tell a story in a speech that gets them thinking in a new way or inspires them to change something about their life.
It is a rush anytime I can create something that instills wonder, makes someone happy, or reminds them of something important. It feels a whole lot like magic. So how can I not spend my days doing that?
Thanks a lot, Grandma.
The thing is, we’re all magicians. Or at least we can be.
We all have something we do well, that when we do it, it seems like magic to other people. The thing is, it probably doesn’t feel like magic to you. That which we do well comes easy to us, making it easy to undervalue.
My wife has a way of seeing nature with her camera that is awe-inspiring.
My friend Sue talks with her hands in a way that looks like poetry.
My friend Jason can lift someone’s spirits using only the look on his face.
Don’t confuse your magic with the sexy talents that find their way to TV. They may not always be glamorous, but that doesn’t make them any less powerful.
It could be the way you can understand tax law to help your clients save money.
It could be the way you can whip up a delicious meal with four ingredients and a pinch of salt.
It could be the way you can organize an event without breaking a sweat.
It could be the way you help people feel good about themselves.
It could be the way you make people feel seen and cared for.
Whatever you do that gets people to smile, laugh, cry, think, try again, or gasp in wonder…that’s your magic. When you’re in the middle of doing something that makes you feel, “I was born to do this,” that’s it. That’s your magic.
Whatever it is, honor it. Guard it. Cultivate it. Spend your days doing more of it.
These days, it’s easy to feel let down by our leaders, our governments, and our social systems. We demand that something must be done. We can lament what we see on the news and in our social media timelines, but then what? If we stop there, we remain mere spectators.
We must become active participants. We need to bring forth our magic, which of course is not magic at all.
It is the spark of your Creator, the spirit of God within you.
You have been given gifts. Don’t bury them. Don’t minimize them. Don’t wish they were more like someone else’s.
This is what the world needs. This is how you should spend your days. This, my friend, is why you are here.
And you never know how much sharing your magic will inspire others to discover their own.
Thanks a lot, Grandma.