Have you read Hiking Through, by Paul Stutzman? When I read it, I became enamored with the idea of trail magic. Trail magic is an unexpected act of kindness for long distance or through hikers on the Appalachian Trail from a complete stranger.
Appalachian Trail locals set up a good will food station where hungry hikers can enjoy home cooked meals, sodas, hot dogs, and even Twinkees. In extreme cases of trail magic, magicians will even open up their homes for hikers to have a warm, dry place to stay for the night. Friends who have experienced trail magic first hand still talk about how it completely turns around a sour attitude and boosts morale. And who wouldn’t want to push forward after that kind of encouragement?
One Sunday night my girlfriend and I were driving back to Indianapolis from a weekend shared with friends in the Smokies and saw an 18-wheeler up ahead of us and to our right with his blinker on. I always try to let the big guy over. These guys are road warriors who have to put up with the stingiest of drivers all day long, day in day out. I don’t know about you, but I feel bad when I see cars rushing by a truck that’s trying to merge. So this time was no exception and I let the truck over. That’s when my girlfriend connected the dots and said the most amazing thing, “Road Magic.”
After considering road magic and trail magic, I thought “what about ‘life magic?’” One of my mentors told me that the key to a happy marriage is to give 110% and to expect 0% in return. I think this idea should apply to our friendships as well. Providing a simple joy for someone else and expecting nothing in return can completely turn around someone’s day, just like trail magic.
Fortunately, there’s a lot of office magic where I work. Sometimes donuts or snacks mysteriously, magically appear in the kitchen for everyone else to enjoy. Most of the time we never actually find out which kind coworker did it. How great is that?
I challenge you to find ways to bring life magic to those around you. It doesn’t have to be a complete stranger. Choose a friend, a relative, or even a coworker. Practicing life magic doesn’t have to cost any money either, that’s the beauty of it. By simply asking someone how they’re doing, caring for them, and listening to their stories, you can make a positive change in their day. Like the kind souls along the Appalachian Trial, we can encourage someone through their own journey, wherever it may lead.
I’ve always wanted to be a magician; now we all have the opportunity.