Look For The Magic

What does magic look like?

Helping others often involves a lot of routine, and often drudgery.  When I use the term caregiver, I can get caught up in the idea that I am only giving care to others.  But what if I look at caregiving as a journey of exploration of my world? What can I learn on this road that I am traveling?  What am I receiving in terms of lessons and insights about myself and those close to me? There are so many wonderful bits of wisdom available to me, but I often feel that I let them fly by, undiscovered, because I am too preoccupied to notice them, or so set in my own opinions that I cannot see another point of view.

“You’re looking for obstacles instead of magic.”  This line, from the movie “My Life In Ruins”, is a piece of wisdom that resonates with me, because the older that I get, the more that I am aware that life is what you make of it.  I was caught up in my role as caregiver one snowy March morning, as I was driving my father to the podiatrist on a dark morning before work. My father is living with dementia and no longer drives, and as we got into the car, I noticed that he is wearing his blue Nike athletic slides instead of sensible winter shoes.  I questioned him about his choice of footwear, given the weather and the snow.   He gave me a blank stare asking, “what kind of shoes should I be wearing?”

All at once it occurred to me that, as soon as my father got into the podiatrist’s office and was taken back to an exam room to have his toenails trimmed, he would need to remove his shoes anyway.  We have an attached garage, and the podiatrist offices is only steps from the parking lot, and I realized that perhaps he had chosen his easily removed shoes for that reason.  Perhaps he had made a considered choice, but had just forgotten, or did not have the words to tell me why he made that choice.  I am often quick to see each of my father’s peculiar decision as another sign of dementia, but what if I just looked for the magic?

Magic is all around us, we just need to look for it.  Most of us know that magic can be in the majesty of the Grand Canyon, but magic is also in the bud of a single flower.  For me, magic appears when I focus on the moment and not on my list of things to do – the future – or my list of things left undone – the past.  Magic is in the stillness – whether it be the stillness of a quiet morning alone out of doors, or the stillness of the moment between when I arrive home from work and when I get out of my car.  I believe that God has made the magic and that the magic is available to everyone.  Where do you see the magic?  Wouldn’t it be fun to spend more time noticing the magic instead of the obstacles?

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I am a family caregiver. My father has dementia. I repeat myself a lot. It’s not easy. Like a lot of you, I have my challenges – I worry that I don’t have enough time for myself and my job and my family while worrying that I don’t give time to my father. I get frustrated and overwhelmed, but caregiving is a responsibility that I cherish. I’m also a CPA and an attorney who’s spent 25 years practicing law. I believe that we as a nation need to have a deeper and more involved conversation around caregivers and our devotion to the loved ones who need us so much. I hope that this site will help that conversation.