I heard these often when I lived in Papua New Guinea, but never saw one in the wild. And yet, I knew they were there. I sensed their presence, touched their fallen feathers, and heard their songs. Birds of Paradise aren't ordinary birds. They don't do what we expect from ordinary birds. Simply put, they are magic. Magic by some outside force? No. Magic by merely being their extraordinary selves.
We too, all have the opportunity to move from ordinary to extra-ordinary, from expected to magic. The question then becomes...
When will you decide to be your extraordinary, magical Self?
* * *
* * *
I walked into the post office and waited in line, humming a little tune. A few people turned and stared. I gave each a genuine smile. They smiled back. Or mostly. A few opened their eyes even wider and wondered what my diagnosis was.
When I finally got to the front, ‘Gary’ welcomed me.
“Hey Brynne. How y’ been?”
Eyebrows, of the few I had yet to win over, lowered a bit. She can’t be as crazy as she seems if Gary knows her. Gary, the most conservative, grumpy postal worker we've ever had in this county.
“Life is good, Gary… life is good. How ‘bout you, my friend?” I asked.
“Oh alright, you know. Making the best of what scraps come my way. What’y got for me today?”
I lifted up my bag and pulled out one of the things I intended to mail. It was a clear surgical glove filled with candy and tied with a string. On the end of the string was a piece of paper with an address and a note that said ‘thank you for your helping hand’.
“Well, I never. You’re serious, aren’t ya darlin’?”
I nodded with a smile.
He shook his head with a happy feeling emanating. The people in line craned to see what all the fuss was about. I could feel the air lighten. Everywhere. Even among the eyebrow-raisers.
“Well, you see…” I said. “I wanted to surprise my volunteers since they surprised me. I didn’t expect them to be so wonderful with the kids, to volunteer their hearts even more than their time. How could I send them boring old envelopes with ordinary thank you notes inside when they deserved so much more?”
That’s when Gary said this to me:
“You know, darlin’…. When you first came in here, I wasn’t so much sure about you. But with every trip in, you left me with a smile. And I’m not a smilin’ kinda guy, if you haven’t noticed.” He swallowed a big gulp. “But when I saw the power of a smile, of that magic it creates, I decided I better mend my ways.”
He leaned his head down, all the way down, so his eyes were looking straight at the counter. And there on the bare skin of his bald head, was a smile.
“I drew it myself. For all my customers. I do every mornin’ now. They deserve it even when I can’t seem to find it for my face.”
And then he smiled. A real smile. His extra-ordinary Self had shown through.
* * *
Decide to be your extraordinary, magical Self.