Friday, September 16, 2005

Reprints: The one about magic

I wrote this sometime over the summer of 2000. It was the only summer during school that I didn't head back to Michindoh to work; so I read and wrote alot. It got printed in a newspaper once. But I didn't get famous.

Anyway, here it is.


What color is magic?

I'm going to admit something really embarrassing right off the bat: I really like the movie Sleepless in Seattle. I know, maybe I'm gay in every way except for the fact that I don't like boys. But I think everyone likes it, on some level, whether they’re willing to admit it not. Sure, there might be that odd duck that’s so punk rock they hate Tom Hanks and all he stands for. But come on, the movie has magic.

That’s right. Magic. Not a word I use lightly, mind you. For anything to be truly magical it's got to inspire an audience's sense of wonder. But wonder comes in all shapes and sizes. For the Romantics, wonder was found in the countryside. Woody Allen, however, finds it in the hustle and bustle of the city. Different strokes, you know?

For a musician it might be found in a simple melody or crashing dissonance. For a physicist, wonder might be best experienced theorizing about geodesics and space-time curvatures.

Good art oftentimes just exudes wonder. Movies are no exception. There are some that you walk out of just feeling clean and refreshed. Tolkien called it “recovery" -- when art acts as a sort a window washer for the soul -- “So that things seen clearly may be freed from the drab blur of triteness or familiarity." And let's not limit that to a strict definition of "Fantasy." Punch Drunk Love is fantasy. So are Amelie and The Life Aqautic and Sleepless in Seattle. And the myths we experience within the confines of these films help us to look at our world in a new way -- a refreshed way.

Because they employ magic. Because they are magical.

[By the way, there are some movies that only some people will enjoy, and then there are good movies that everyone should enjoy, but some people are too stubborn and obstinate to enjoy, which is really quite ridiculous because the really good movies don’t require certain levels of testosterone or estrogen or intelligence or dullness in order for one to enjoy them – they are just simply good.]

That being said, we all find magic and wonder in different places, above or below, to the side or the centre, within or without.

I might find those little pencil shavings left in the sharpener magical, while you might prefer the simplicity of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or that moment in your favorite song when you seem to forget how to breathe (but in the best possible way, mind you).

Magic comes in many different colors. The trick is, finding the color that answers the question for you.

So what color is magic? Only you can decide that for yourself. Don’t get too concrete or analytical, though. Just go with what feels right. I tend to think of it in terms of green. Maybe for you, it’s a nice brick red, but don’t be afraid to recognize magic when it’s electric orange every second Tuesday of the week (or what have you). Trust me, it’s not something you want to miss.

But don’t think that magic can only be seen; use your others senses, too. Smell it. Touch it. Taste it. Listen for it.

P.S. If you’re having a hard time finding a place to start, 5:09 in the morning is a good place to start.

P.P.S. And when I say morning, I mean night.

P.P.P.S. And when I say night, I mean staying up so late that you go to bed when the birds start chirping.

Unfortunately, magic is a very misused and much maligned word. People today just don't know what magic is. Especially in the Christian community.

Why is it that some Christians flinch when they hear the word magic? Why do some of some of us get that dirty feeling like someone just swore in front of their mother? I’m not entirely sure, but I think it has less to do with the Holy Spirit than we would like to admit. We have been conditioned, rather, to equate magic with witchcraft. And the devil couldn’t be happier.

Magic has little to do with hocus-pocus jibber-jabber, pink potions, and the ability to grow tomatoes the size hubcaps. Magic is all around us. You know that feeling when you see a magician make something disappear or pull a quarter out of your ear? That’s magic – awe and wonder at what we cannot explain or comprehend.

Magic then, cannot simply be equated with the occult. That’s what we’re led to believe because of weird-ass magicians (or is it illusionists?) like David Blain and his cronies, when that feeling of awe is mixed with downright horror while he levitates street pedestrians on Times Square. That's no more magic than pornography is love. It's a corruption of wide-eyed wonder, plain and simple.

The best thing about wonder is the literally thousands of ways God has given us to awe in his creation and works of his created. The smell of a baseball mit, held close to your face. The sight of a full moon, on a cold, crisp night. The roar of the ocean, the feel of old paperback pages, the taste of just about anything after skipping lunch to get out of work early. Maybe none of these things do it for you; but as for me and my house, they make my toes tingle.

And wonder. Quite simply, it comes from enjoying God’s wonderful (and wonder-filled) creation. God wants us to enjoy him. Creation isn't simply for his pleasure, but for ours, too.

This is why wonder is so powerful. Why it can make your head spin and your fingers numb. Because it's a gift from God. I think, deep down, even the staunchest of atheists knows that there is something transcendent about this world. In that way, whether we realize or not, we are all participants in the Sacrament of the Earth, drinking deeply from the Cup of Creation, a community of God's children bound by our love for the land.

God wants us to enjoy His creation, and in turn, enjoy Him. "What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”

We do this in worship. Not simply catchy songs or even heart-felt words, but a continuous state of mind where God is simply enjoyed. A.W. Tozer defined that state of mind as the “fear of God.” Trembling not in terror, but in awe of the splendor of the world in which we live.

“When we come into this sweet relationship,” Tozer writes, “we are beginning to learn astonished reverence, breathless adoration, awesome fascination, lofty admiration of the attributes of God and something of the breathless silence that we know when God is near.”

Call it what you will. The fear of God, worship, wonder, adoration, reverence, awe – it is our dumfounded response to the infinite grace of our father.

And that very same grace is magical.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Google Zeitgeist 05: Featuring Press & Bloggers But No Blogging Or Coverage Allowed
So I'm reading a discussion over at Threadwatch about those going to our SEW Forums Live Anaheim event next month, and member eWhisper notes he can't make it, as Zeitgeist ends that day? Zeitgeist? I follow the ...
Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a russian brides site. It pretty much covers
russian brides related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)