Do You Believe in Magic?

On Sunday night I watched One Magic Christmas on TV. That was my favourite Christmas movie as a kid. Watching it as an adult, I was painfully aware of the things I didn’t notice as a child: like the low-budget quality and tacky 80s dress (of course, that would have been normal then). There’s also the misleading notion that when people die they go to the North Pole, where they are doomed to an eternity of making toys. That doesn’t sound very heavenly to me.

The point of the movie is that it’s all about magic. It’s about seeing what could happen if you would only just believe. If we’re going to get spiritual then I guess Santa is Jesus, the North Pole is heaven, and magic is faith.

As we see in the movie, it’s much easier for children to believe in magic, in dreams, and in faith than it is for us as adults. I am grateful that I still possess a certain child-like quality that allows me to believe, even when other people think I’m foolish. If I’m honest, sometimes my hopes, dreams, and beliefs seem absurd to me too. But I believe them anyway.

I have a friend named Paul. Paul is in a band called NEVEREST. You’ve probably heard their single on the radio, “About Us.” Paul and I used to work together at ESPRIT. He was the assistant manager and I was a key holder. For both of us, this job was a means to an end. I was interning as a writer for a couple of car magazines (Ha! For real) and he was working on music with his band. I even went to one of their shows once. When I was offered a real writing job he was so proud of me.  He said something to the effect of, “You’re going to be a best-selling author and I’m going to be a rock star! Our dreams are going to come true!”

I wouldn’t say that “best-selling author” is one of my dreams, but that’s not the point. The point is Paul’s attitude. His excitement. His belief that it could really happen. And it did. NEVEREST just went on a cross-Canada tour. Their manager is Howie D from the Backstreet Boys.

This past summer I read a book called The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland (After Don, Doug is one of my favs). This book is all about dreams. The main character, Roger, is a middle-aged man who works as a sales associate at Staples in Vancouver. He is divorced and depressed, and he is through with dreaming:

“Dreams don’t come true. Dreams die. Dreams get compromised. Dreams end up dealing meth in a booth at the back of the Olive Garden. Dreams choke to death on bay leaves. Dreams get spleen cancer.”

Some dreams die a natural death, and others we fight to keep alive. But for all of them we must wait with hope. Maybe the dreams die when hope dies. Maybe they begin to fizzle when we forget about the magic. Regardless, I think it’s the dreams of our lives that give birth to the best stories – even if they don’t come true. So does Don Miller:

“I asked Bob what was the key to living such a great story, and Bob seemed uncomfortable with the idea that he was anything special. But he wanted to answer my question, so he thought about it and said he didn’t think we should be afraid to embrace whimsy. I asked him what he meant by whimsy, and he struggled to define it. He said it’s that nagging idea that life could be magical; it could be special if we were only willing to take a few risks” (Miller 167).

I’ve heard people say, “Don’t dream that! It’s foolish. Be realistic!” That just doesn’t sit right with me. It can’t. I don’t care how big the dream is; how far-fetching. I believe you have every right to dream it. What if that person was wrong and that potential was in you all along? So dream. But when you dream you also have to do.

I think Paul had it right when he kept dreaming with that child-like faith. I think his band has it right too: “We all have our own Mount Everest, and we are never going to rest until we achieve that Everest, whatever it may be.”

Never Rest until you climb Mount Everest. NEVEREST. I couldn’t agree more.

There’s this nagging feeling in the back of my mind. I think there are a few risks left untaken. I’m willing to bet there’s some magic in the air…

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