When I was a little girl, probably six or seven years old, I was fascinated by magic. I would take leaves or blades of grass I’d picked in the garden to the pond in our yard, and by dipping them in the water I’d see their colors change from green to silver. I was sure there was a magical language available in them and that it ran through all of nature, if only I knew its language and could interpret it. My father must have noticed my interest in magic and one evening he brought a book home from New York City, the city where he worked. It was a “glumpnous present,” he said, (glumpnous is a word I believe he invented, used when giving a gift for no particular occasion.) I read the entire book, practiced the tricks and performed them for my family. Sometime later my father presented me with a magic wand he made from a wooden dowel that he had painted black with white tips. I couldn’t have been happier.
When I received the news that my father was dying, I took two flights to travel across the country and then drove to the hospice near his home in Arizona. Once there, I was told that his kidneys and brain had already shut down yet he was still breathing on his own. I was left alone to have some time with him and during this time I thanked him for so many things, the magic book and wand being high on the list.
I was reminded of this when I read something my friend, Mark Michaud, posted on Facebook the other day. Mark works in the Emergency Room at Danbury Hospital. He wrote:
I was helping a 99 year-old man in the ER last night when he turned to me and said, “My mother used to make the best biscuits and she’d pour fresh cream and sliced strawberries on them and boy were they good ….mmmmm were they tasty.” And then he started singing “Those were the days.” My eyes welled up and what else could I do but join him in the chorus.
Facebook’s “reaction buttons” couldn’t quite capture what I felt. I smiled at the simple joy that was the sweetness of memory and also because I knew that for Mark there wouldn’t have been even a split second’s hesitation to join the man’s singing.
The tears that filled my eyes weren’t only sad tears but the powerfully-moved-by-beauty tears that come from something for which there is no words. The things that last; the way love is expressed and lives in our heart, the glumpnous gifts as the simple day-to-day moments become our offerings both given and received. They move us because they are a reminder that we live precariously balanced on the cusp of the delicate nature of life, suspended always by the strength of love. And with that awareness, we live each moment with a full heart, with wonder, and with gratitude. In fact, these are those days.
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