Hope Seeks Wonder

In her best-selling book, Moving On, Sarah Ban Breathnach lists the seven senses. The usual five we know: sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. But then she adds Knowledge and Wonder.

Image Attribution: Sally Wynn / Platinum Portfolio

Knowledge is self-explanatory, except when we experience that special knowing based on intuition and spiritual electricity. A working definition of ‘wonder’ is “Surprise mingled with admiration caused by something beautiful, unexpected, or inexplicable.”

As we age, we can lose our sense of wonder. Children can spend hours just looking at a dandelion, caught in the wonder of such a cheery yellow flower. We adults yank them up and throw them away.

I cherish the memory of a little boy’s grubby hands, bringing a stone he dug from the riverbank. His wonder of something surprising shared with his precious mommy.

In the hubbub of life, we can lose that admiration for the things we cannot explain. Instead, we tend to just move on. To stay busy and do our thing. Oblivious of life’s pulsing around us. Avoiding the presence of God in the ordinary.

To restore some hope, I’ve listed some of the things that feed my sense of wonder. To force myself to stop and listen. To revel in the world around me. To rediscover my intuitive soul. These items currently fill me with a surprising beauty—a restored wonder.

  • The tiny fingernails of my great niece, a reminder of how fragile is the miracle of life
  • The detailed featherings of blue jays. Gray, white, black, and royal blue—no two the same
  • The consistent hammering of the red-headed woodpecker in my elm tree. How does he not grow a migraine after all that pounding?
  • The way memory blips make life disappear or bring to mind a special moment from decades ago
  • The careful pulsing of my heart, steady and regular—a miracle in itself
  • The moment a soul steps out of its earthly body and transfers to eternity
  • The way God whispers answers to prayer before we utter the request
  • How pets know the exact time we are coming home and run to the door before we turn into the drive
  • The vastness of space and the amazing synchronicity of God’s creation
  • How Patrick Mahomes can turn his body northeast and throw southwest
  • How ideas spark from deep creativity, giving writers a place to begin
  • How children give love so easily, not yet marred by the ugliness of self-sufficiency

I need to spend more time experiencing wonder. To nurture this sense and appreciate all the things in my world that are admirable and beautiful.

A focus on wonder helps reboot the hope muscle and reminds me that life is better than it sometimes appears.

As Frederick Buechner wrote, “Never question the truth of what you fail to understand, for the world is filled with wonders.”

©2023 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved For a book that expresses the wonder of hope, check out Hope Shines.

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