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.
A working definition of “wonder” is “Surprise mingled with admiration caused by something beautiful, unexpected or inexplicable.”
As we age, I think 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.
Many of us cherish the memory of a little boy’s grubby hands, bringing his mommy a stone he dug from the riverbank, a bunch of early spring flowers or a wriggling worm – his wonder of something surprising shared with his precious mom.
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 decided to list some of the things that feed my sense of wonder. To force myself to stop and listen, to revel in the world around me and rediscover my intuitive soul.
In my gratitude journal, I’ll include these items that fill me with a surprising beauty, a restored wonder:
- The sudden silence of my universe as a midnight snow begins to blanket the ground
- The tiny fingernails of newborns, 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 have a migraine after all that pounding on the bark?
- 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
- A crackling fire that exudes warmth, aesthetic pleasure and security all at the same time
- When the souls of two people connect and blossom into love
- 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 and give 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.”
©2019 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
For a book that expresses the wonder of hope, check out Hope Shines.