The Return To Wonderment

The Return To Wonderment

When was the last time you felt overcome with wonder? Holding a newborn baby? Or how about a moment when you were mysteriously protected in a car crash? Or a realization that you or someone you love had been miraculously healed?

Maybe those kinds of things are too rare.

It could be something more commonplace—a painted pink and purple sunset splashed around a rising moon. Or maybe when some quiet person at work cracks a really funny joke.

Somehow, wonderment fades as we get older. It begins to elude us. Nothing new under the sun…been there, done that. We gradually approach life with dull hearts. A light goes out.

Laney in bathYoung children, on the other hand, live in a constant state of wonder. I remember sitting for nearly an hour watching my young granddaughter discover the substance of water in the bathtub. Don’t get me wrong—it wasn’t her first bath.

I’d given her a small plastic bottle to play with. Over and over and over, she filled the bottle with water, watching the bubbles escape as they popped and sputtered. And if bubbles weren’t fascinating enough, there was more! Slowly, she poured out the water in a thin stream, making a different kind of sound and then studied how the clear substance vanished into the rest of the bath.

Water! Utterly captivating.

Lightbulb millionMy friend Robin had a teacher who wanted to expand the young minds of her students by giving them a concept of what a million looks like. The teacher said if anyone could make a million marks on paper, their grade would go up a level. Continue reading

Beholding

Beholding

When it happens to me, I feel fully alive. A momentary shift of perspective, sometimes intentional, sometimes a surprise. Often it’s a spiritual experience—even supernatural. What am I talking about?

Wonder.

The wonder of new lifeIt can occur in the most ordinary ways…a robin building her nest in the eaves of our front porch…tiny beaks appearing, open and hungry…the process of learning to fly.

The wonder of communicationOr how about my little ten-month-old granddaughter, lifting one hand to greet me. She’s on the cusp of forming words. I wonder at the miracle of language and the nuances of tiny gestures.

As author Anthony Doerr said, sublimity (is) “the instant when one thing is about to become something else. Day to night, caterpillar to butterfly. Fawn to doe. Experiment to result. Boy to man.”[i]

The wonder of creationWhen I watched Planet Earth, each episode inspired me to the point of worship. As it is written in Job, “Stand and consider the wonders of God. Do you know how God establishes them, and makes the lightning of His cloud to shine? Do you know about the layers of the thick clouds, the wonders of one perfect in knowledge? Can you, with Him, spread out the skies, strong as a molten mirror? Out of the north comes golden splendor; around God is awesome majesty.”[ii]

I marvel at the historical formation of America. Bono of U2 put it this way…Continue reading

Pause

Pause

Years ago, Nicholas Herman slogged along a snowy trail in the dead of winter. As a weary soldier, he could hardly wait to thaw his frozen feet and eat a bowl of hearty stew. However, while trudging home he came upon a mature fruit tree, stripped bare of its summer beauty.

It gave him pause.

red apple on green leavesGazing at the tree, he considered how the leaves would burst forth with vitality come spring. A flurry of flowers would bloom, bringing color and fragrance. And after lush rains and summer sun, fruit would form.

Like something from nothing, God would provide a bountiful harvest. Suddenly, it all seemed miraculous.

As he stayed in the wonder of those thoughts, God’s presence quietly descended on him, showering glory all around. Who knows how long he remained there. Time had somehow stopped.

d5545757-2c90-4727-80f0-9ec5d0b269c7And in those holy moments, God imprinted something on his soul, which never faded. Released from the mindset of things-as-they-seem, he was captured by a “high view of the providence and power of God.” Later, he told a friend that the experience produced a passion for God in his heart that did not diminish in the forty years that followed.

That young soldier was also known as Brother Lawrence, a kitchen worker for the Carmelite monks in the 1600s. Like a dormant tree in spring, he awoke from an earthly mindset to a heightened heavenly awareness.

He believed an extraordinary God was intimately involved in ordinary life. And that one remarkable truth sparked an ongoing conversation with God that would last the rest of his life.

All because he paused.

Woman with headache, overwhelmed with lifeThe Spirit of God hovers over our busy, distracted, caffeine-charged, multi-tasking days—waiting for us to pause.

But the complexities of modern life demand our constant attention. An ad in the Wall Street Journal for SAP, a multi-national software company, stated that, “Complexity is becoming the most intractable issue of our time, an epidemic of wide-ranging proportions, affecting our lives, our work and even our health. Eight out of ten children today think life is too complicated. A third of working professionals experience health issues as a consequence of stress associated with information overload. And 62% believe their personal relationships are suffering as a direct result of complexity.”

“Complexity comes at an enormous cost,” the ad writer concluded.[i] Of course, SAP is peddling technical resources that promise to simplify. But software, no matter how helpful, is not a balm for our weary souls.

The question is—why don’t we pause? Is there a poverty of soul that we’re afraid to be in the same room with? Do we silence it with the drone of TV?Continue reading