The Magic Encounter

Fifty-two years ago this coming Labor Day weekend, my Dad came home from work, rested for a while, and then left to get a haircut at Kandel’s Barber Shop in my little home town of Louisville, Ohio.

He never came back.

When our family doctor came to our door a while later to tell us, very gently, that Dad had died while waiting for the barber to cut his hair, the course of my life’s journey changed dramatically.

Last week I was back in Ohio for a family wedding and made a trip to Louisville with Joan to show her where I had grown up and to regale her with stories about my boyhood.

The house where my siblings and I were raised appeared to have been well cared for over the years, but it bore little resemblance to the home I hold in my memory.

More than half of the shops in “downtown” Louisville (which is only one block long) were empty, but I was able to remember the bustling and seemingly successful businesses that once had occupied each of them.

The one place that made me stop and pause, however, was the storefront that had housed Kandel’s Barber Shop.

It, like so many others, was empty, but at some point had been painted black and named The Magic Encounter.

The irony of the name and the appearance struck me immediately. Dad’s transition, which marked the beginning of a black period in my life, was in fact his Magic Encounter with whatever it is that we all will meet and experience at our journey’s end.

And that got me thinking about the many types of encounters we all have every day – with people and situations and opportunities we are not expecting.

Some of them turn out to be life-changing; some are seemingly inconsequential and easily forgettable. But I believe we have the ability to find the magic in any of them, because our reaction to them is always our choice.

If we can truly accept, and live, the teachings in Lessons from the Source that there are blessings and goodness in every situation, regardless of how our human minds might interpret it, it seems logical to me that we can choose to find the magic – or at least to accept that it is there.

I love this paragraph from Chapter Two of the book:

“You are so near and yet so far. When you have a higher perspective, you will see and understand clearly that your good, which seems so far away from you, is always close at hand—closer than you could ever imagine. You can reach out and touch it in spirit and bring it into the material world so easily, if only you can believe. It is there at your beck and call. You must accept the reality (and it is the ultimate reality) that you have ultimate and complete power over what happens to you on the physical plane. Reject the illusion of helplessness, of lack, of all of this being out of your control. Through your faith and right action, your good can come to you in an instant and keep multiplying. You control your own destiny. You are part of infinite goodness.”

We do, indeed, control our own destiny. We can choose how we will respond to any types of encounters in our lives. We can give them power over us and allow them to control our thoughts and emotions; or we can look for the magic and accept the blessings, even though we might never understand what they are. The choices we make on a daily basis help to set the tone for our days, and for the rest of our lives.

4 Responses to “The Magic Encounter”

  1. cinda says:

    Jack, what a wonderful observation and moment for you. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Tim says:

    Fantastic stuff there Jack! Thank you so much for sharing this tender moment in your life.
    Here’s the good news from my perspective though, this was not the end of your father’s journey, but rather the beginning of a glorious new one!
    Peace and blessings,

  3. says:

    “there are blessings and goodness in every situation, regardless of how our human minds might interpret it”

    Wonderful, Jack. We are truly blessed when we feel the truth of this. In this is our true freedom. It helps me to be reminded, so thank you.

    Good to have you back and it is a lovely piece of writing.

    With the Love we are,

  4. Linda says:

    Dear Jack –

    Insightful and full of love as always, my friend.

    Sometimes we have to go down the rabbit hole in order to know what the light looks like at the end of the tunnel.

    Whether we go in that direction is indeed, our choice.

    Much love,

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  • Welcome

    About Jack Armstrong

    Welcome to my blog. I’m glad you’re here, and I’m excited about being able to visit with you in this way.

    The musings about life and spirituality that I’ll be sharing with you will be from the perspective of a 73-year-old guy who spent most of his life trying to figure out what he wanted to be when he grew up ― and finally got it.

    You can find out about my books, including Lessons from the Source, on the Store page here on this website, but this blog is a place for sharing thoughts and ideas.

    We’re all on the spiritual path together, and we all have insights and perspectives to share with each other. My hope is that some of mine will be helpful and thought provoking for you.

    Thanks for visiting. Many blessings.

    Jack Armstrong

    (If you’d like to find out more about me, just click here)

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