On Friday evening Sally and I went to the annual dinner for the Magic Club to which I belong – Mid Essex Magical Society (MEMS). It was a really enjoyable evening and included awards for the two annual competitions for close-up and stage magic.
I had come third in the stage magic competition and was given a trophy to acknowledge that (yes, there were only 4 entrants!). I felt slightly embarrassed at having been given a trophy for coming third out of four, but it was nice to be given a trophy in any event.
But the award that meant far more to me was the other award I was given. It could be described as the award for turning up, but that would be to undervalue the person in whose memory it was given. It was the Phil Dawes Memorial Shield* which was awarded for the first time this year in memory of one of our members who tragically died earlier in the year. It is given to the person who attended most of the shows we put on for charities during the year. This year that happened to be me.
I felt very privileged to be awarded this Shield. Not because I had turned up to the shows, although I do love performing, but because Phil would definitely have won this award if he was still with us. He was someone who was humble and did not seek the limelight. He enjoyed performing close up magic but was very happy being in the background. If you listed the star performers in the club Phil would probably not have been at the top of the list but he was one of the stars for a different reason. He was always willing to help someone else. I can remember on one occasion when I had a lot of props to bring in it was Phil who saw me struggling and instantly offered to help and lugged some heavy boxes into the venue. He was there waiting at the end of the evening to carry the boxes back.
I received the award not with a sense of pride in my own attendance record but with a sense of honour to be counted alongside Phil and having done a little to emulate his selfless attitude. I felt that receiving the trophy was a tribute to Phil.
I wonder whose example you want to emulate? In the Bible Paul encouraged people to “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2). Not a bad person to seek to follow!
Be blessed, be a blessing
*It’s probably worth mentioning that the shield is given for “Services to Charities” as our shows are all fundraisers for charities: turning up and performing is a way of supporting charities.