Marlborough Magic

Every day at Marlborough is magic, no mirrors, no sleight of hand, simply wonder, awe, and a commitment to those things that are more important than self.

Over this past week, I have been trying to weave my feelings into a cogent article, but I’m afraid this may be more word salad than gourmet delight, so I hope you will bear with me. I must confess that my family time was the highlight of my break that now resides in my rearview mirror. My adorable four-year old grandson came for Christmas, bringing his parents along for the ride. While I found him delightful, I had forgotten the energy level at that age and found myself going to bed earlier and earlier. While his grandfather was the uncontested star of Greyson’s trip, he found me useful for a few down-to-the-wire games of Jenga. Although he had to battle me for his wins as I do not lose easily to four-year olds, I think he really appreciated my good sportsmanship when I won.

No sooner did I bid farewell to one family, than John and I hopped on a plane to spend three days in Las Vegas with two other grandchildren who also brought along their parents, which was a good plan as they had the show tickets. Watching my six-year old grandson during David Copperfield’s performance was a study in absolute unfettered joy. I have never seen a child so excited or so enthralled by a performer. His eyes were as bright as sapphires and his excitement could not be contained. As a tween, his sister was a little too cool for magic and tried to figure out the tricks. As I watched with more interest than my namesake, I started thinking and wondering about the power of awe in our lives. At Christmas, I am always moved by the liturgical music as well as my favorite carol, O Holy Night, not simply because it reminds me of my childhood, but also because of the message of wonder. A Jewish friend of mine who is a musician and loves carols always reminds me of the beauty of music that surrounds spiritual celebrations of faith. For me, it is about treating every day as a holy one with the belief in the inherent goodness of humankind which is often found with such abandon in the young.

A few weeks before the holidays, I had read a wonderful review in the NYT Book Review about Elaine Pagels new book, Why Religion? which intrigued me. I admire Professor Pagels scholarship and decided that once John and I had a few days to ourselves I would dive in. I was intrigued by her new book—a treatise on loss, which is a subject she knows too much about. I was overwhelmed by the sadness of her story and, at the same time, the heartbreaking beauty of her prose as she wrote about the death of her only child and, a year later, her beloved husband, and how through silence and meditation, she found her way into a life that had meaning again.  What Dr. Pagels found was the awe of all that is larger than self and of the value of relationships and the importance of a community where you find love and support.

If I am tempted to look for the hidden mirrors or the gotcha moment, I remind myself to appreciate wonder and the joy of being present each day and looking for magic that may be a student in red Chuck Taylors laughing with a friend, or another racing off to basketball practice, or three 7th graders with arms linked, running through the field during a rainstorm. Every day at Marlborough is magic, no mirrors, no sleight of hand, simply wonder, awe, and a commitment to those things that are more important than self. May we all find something to believe in and never lose our child-like love of the unexplained. Happy New Year, Marlborough community.

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