A couple weeks ago I ordered a new comforter set from Bed Bath and Beyond. I was excited to take advantage of the January linen sales and to replace our decade-old, tattered duvet. My daughters were excited that the new set happened to arrive in a gigantic cardboard box.
As soon as they spotted it on the dining room floor their eyes lit up. They waited anxiously as I made sure the comforter was the appropriate size for our bed. I wasn’t about to let them start turning it into a castle or a car or a theater stage before I ruled out the possibility of needing to return the bedding set.
As soon as I announced that the box was theirs, they cheered with delight. They immediately began drawing, bedazzling, and turning the box into something resembling a retro Volkswagen van. They pushed each other around in the van, then turned it into a kindergarten classroom for stuffed animals. The box has since served as a bakery, a school bus, a cottage, and a science laboratory.
I watched them play and wondered if there is anything that brings me as much joy as they’re experiencing by playing with a cardboard box. Then I realized that yes, there is. Watching their happiness unfold over something so ordinary yet so magical brings me that joy. Listening to their laughter and observing their creativity fills my heart.
We all know disappointment very well right now. After nearly two full years of fear, uncertainty, cancelled plans, and lost loved ones, what can we do except strive to find joy wherever it hides? It might be in the smile of a friend, the calmness of a brisk winter sunrise, or even in an empty cardboard box. Where will you find your magic today?