Last week, I met a magician.
He and his wife sat across the room from us at breakfast in the hotel where my family and I are staying.
He approached our table and held out his hand to my daughter and showed her a penny.
“Do you know how much this is worth?”
My daughter smiled and ducked her head. She watched him, chin down, eyes big under her bangs.
He said, “In 1920, you could buy a piece of gum or a spool of thread with this penny. Do you know what it’s worth today?” He waved his hand, and it disappeared. “Nothing,” he said. We laughed.
“They still make pennies today, but they are worth much less!” He waved his hand again, and a doll-sized penny appeared. My daughter gasped, and he gave her the tiny coin.
“I got a million of these tricks,” he said. “I’m the Great Baldini!” He rubbed his bald head, and his wife rolled her eyes.
“It’s great,” I said ” Please! Go ahead! I’ve been stuck in bed for a week! This is awesome. Give us all you’ve got.”
He put a ball in my hand and then made another one appear. Then somehow ended up with three, then two. It was the ultimate shell game. “Now how many do you think I have?”
“Um, three?” We had no idea.
He opened his hand. No ball, just a little plastic nun.
“NONE!” he said.
Ba dum bum. So funny.
And such a refreshing gift after a difficult week.
Some people know how to be generous with themselves.
I have been taken lately with the idea of “love in action.” That, as Heidi Baker says, love looks like something.
It’s not a simple feeling. And, for Christians, it’s not really an option. It’s a lifestyle.
Mr. and Mrs. The Great Baldini went on their way, and I sat thinking about what it takes to put on an impromptu magic show for strangers at a hotel breakfast.
Love in Action: Practice, Planning, Perception, Pluck.
It takes practice. Perfecting an approach at home, trying out tricks on friends and family before taking them on the road.
It takes planning. The Great Baldini carries his pennies and props with him. He’s ready when opportunity appears.
It takes perception. He saw me sitting with my crutches. I obviously was injured and not going anywhere fast.
And it takes just a little bit of pluck, or boldness. We could have rejected him, but we would have missed out if he hadn’t risked reaching out to us.
I’m so glad he took the chance. I was in pain and fighting all the emotions that come with injury. It was a delight to be seen and served and entertained with such kindness.
It breathed life into my day. My daughters were sitting with me, fetching and carrying, worried about mom. His show took their minds off all of it for a minute. We enjoyed the laugh and the light-hearted interaction.
Thank you, The Great Baldini. We needed that. You are a blessing. May your life continue on with a flourish, and may you always have a rabbit in your hat.
Love in action. Practice, planning, perception, pluck.
Little children, let us not love in word only, but in actions and in truth. 1John3:18