Saturday, November 26, 2005

Mindful Moments

C.S. Lewis was once asked what his Chronicles of Narnia were about, to which he slyly replied, "Magic." Of course, as everyone caught up in the allegory of those great tales knows, they are about a good deal more than just magic. But first and foremost they are magical stories, stories which contain as much magic in their pages as they do in the enchanted reading of those pages. This morning I was reminded that magic - the kind of magic that Lewis channeled in his classic stories - is all around me, if I pay attention to it.

I am a bit of a holiday fuddy-duddy. As I'm sure you can tell by now, I hate going to the mall, particularly during the Christmas shopping season. And, every year it seems that the Christmas shopping season starts just a little bit earlier. This year I was startled, as I walked through a store which still had its Halloween ghosts and goblins prominently on display, to hear the faint sound of Christmas muzak in the background. I say "muzak" because whatever it was, it certainly wasn't music. Music has magic, and that sterile background radiation masquerading as music was decidedly unmagical. In a Harry Potter world muzak is for Muggles, and I don't want to be mistaken for one of those.

Now that we are past Thanksgiving, however, it is safe for me to transform into someone who, if not exactly excited by the holiday season, is at least willing to tolerate all of the nonsense which goes with the most joyous time of the year.

My son and I have a routine. Every morning, after we both get up, I put on some music and we dance around the living room. The music varies with my mood. Sometimes we put in some rock and roll, sometimes some jazz, sometimes some classical, and sometimes some non-Western music. This morning I was in a mood that comes about once a year, so we danced to Christmas music. Phil Keaggy's Christmas album, recorded with the London Festival Orchestra, to be exact.

In the middle of our dance he asked me to put him down so he could roam around on the floor. Well, to say he asked might be a little misleading. Really he just tried to leap out of my arms, and fussed at me a bit when I saved him from yet another facial bruise. I let him down gently, and then he surprised me.

He crawled to me, pulled up on my pants, and grabbed my hands. Then he started to dance with me again, but with his feet on the ground. He turned around, let me hold him by his hands, and then started to walk across the room.

He's been working on walking for a little while, but he's so good at crawling he rarely has the patience to try to get anywhere on his feet. But here he was this morning, holding my hands and taking some faltering steps. I was overcome.

I am a dreamer, always looking for the next big plan, the next great moment. I rarely appreciate the moment I'm in. But this morning I was reminded of a mantra from the counter cultural sixties: "Be Here Now." I keep wondering when I'll start to live the life I thought I'd be living by now. You know, the life when I'm happy and fulfilled, doing all of the cool things that kids think that adults are supposed to do. This morning I realized that I've already starting living that life, and I just never noticed.

This morning I held my son's hand as he tried to walk. I gave him advice and encouragement, prodding him along and cheering with each clumsy step. I did all of this on a brisk, beautiful morning that reminded me so much of Christmas in the movies, while my favorite Christmas album played in the background. It was, to say the least, a magical moment. And I almost missed it.

I wonder, how much of my life have I missed because I was looking for or expecting something else? How much of my life have I missed because I haven't been mindful of the moment?

This holiday season is full of magic. Let's be mindful of each magical moment.


Tom said...

Congatulations to both father and son. Now I'm off to do the same thing with Josh, only with basketballs.

Anonymous said...

Great article Chris, it is very good!