“Let others wrangle, I will wonder.” – Augustine
“Awe is what moves us on.” – Joseph Campbell
“The greatest of all illusions is the illusion of familiarity.” – G.K. Chesterton
Lately I’ve been pondering just how much of my life is founded on explanation. Explanations surround me. I build my days on explanations. There are explanations for everything – the weather, nature, the stars, our bodies, on it goes. You name it — we explain it or can find someone quickly who can. Explanations are important – they’ve improved the quality of life, saved lives, and moved humanity forward, but it seems to me that along the path of this desire to explain everything we lose the gift of wonder. That’s a terrible price to pay.
If you’re looking for a teacher who can show you the ropes of wonder, look no further than a small child. Come for a minute to my house and watch a little girl who is not quite 2 years old. Watch the animation of her face, the reckless abandon of her body and soul as she flings herself passionately into her surroundings. She is alive. Notice the delight that radiates from her whole being when she is surprised. See her honest disappointment when things didn’t go her way. Everything in her world is new. All of it – everything in her universe – is an opportunity to learn and grow. She is on a journey of “wonder-standing.”
Warren Weirsbe puts it like this: “A child’s life is filled with wonder, and this sense of wonder enables him or her to see things in life that escape the rest of us. My grandchildren can squat and stare at a flower or an insect with an imaginative interest that I hope will never be lost. Alas, tests show that a child’s creativity — which includes wonder and imagination — diminishes by 90 percent between ages five and seven! When an adult gets to be forty, he has about 2 percent of the creativity he had when he was five years old. No wonder the children sang to Jesus in the temple while theologically trained adults tried to silence them.”
I want more wonder in my life. Wonder wakes me up to the reality of God and the fullness of life. Without it, my perspective and my heart grow slowly harder and more rigid. Wonder opens the door to thankfulness and gratitude and worship.
Lord, please help me recover my instinct for astonishment. Peel my eyes off myself and my explanations. Replace my desire for understanding with a longing to see life with the sheer gaze of admiration – that I may wonder…