Springtime. It seems to bring about all these different (and good!) feelings in me. The winters in Portland can be cold and wet, and generally give off the same vibe as an Edgar Allan Poe. So when spring starts to wake up, opening it’s eyes ever so gently, it feels like the world is full of this unique brand of magic. A kind only reserved for the patient, who have waited faithfully for the pink and white blossoms on the trees to come alive.
The word that hasn’t always popped into my mind automatically during seasons like these is wonder. Wonder has been a word that hasn’t so much puzzled me as it has fascinated me. What does it mean to wonder? Is wonder a thing? Is wonder an action? I would think about it, and then, let the curiosity pass, as if it were a commonplace breeze rolling down the street.
What is wonder to you?
I looked to the sage and trusty source of all words for the answer: Merriam-Webster, of course. This is what they had to say about it.
won·der | \ ˈwən-dər \
1a: a cause of astonishment or admiration
2: the quality of exciting amazed admiration
3a: rapt attention or astonishment at something awesomely mysterious or new to one's experience
b: a feeling of doubt or uncertainty
1a: to be in a state of wonder
b: to feel surprise
2: to feel curiosity or doubt, wondering about the future
a : exciting amazement or admiration
b : effective or efficient far beyond anything previously known or anticipated
I can’t pick which definition I like the best, because they all seem to be accurate to life outside of the bindings of a dictionary. As a Christian, I’ve heard the word many times, often to describe the way in which we respond God and who He is. And while I never thought that was false, I didn’t quite get it. The fullness of the word never quite clicked.
But for one reason or another, as a 25-year-old in 2019, I think I’m starting to grasp it, and why it’s so important to everyday life.
This is what I believe: I believe that we live in a time that tells us that facts are the gospel. Anything that cannot be measured isn’t worthy of our attention. We live in a time that wants every mystery to be solved, and tied in a bow, and delivered within 3 days through Amazon Prime. There’s this lack of curiosity that becomes a silent killer in our everyday lives. Because without curiosity, without a sense of true, and beautiful wonder, we cease to be as vibrant as we could be. As inspired as we could be. It’s as if being amazed by the world around you is a sign of weakness, one you should never, under any circumstances, reveal to anyone. But, with all due respect, I think that’s a big ugly lie. I think that God wants us to delight in and be inspired by all the little miracles in a day. The way the light hits a dewy leaf after heavy rain. The smell of freshly-cut grass. The moments when the traffic lights seem to know you’re there, and yielding green through every intersection.
This is all my long, rather drawn-out way of saying that I think we all need to practice wonder a little more, each and every day. Even when our days are less-than, well, wonderful. I think it’s a tiny act of resistance against a world that wants people to worship things that bring us no joy whatsoever. It’s a rebellion. And it’s an important one.
So as you start this week, I would challenge you to stop for a moment. At least once a day. Put down your phone, put down your groceries, or just put down whatever stress you’ve been carrying throughout the day. Behold something extraordinary, even if it appears to be ordinary. Take a deep breath. Let curiosity and amazement for every little miracle wash over you. Because, when it comes down to it, life is pretty damn wonderful. We just have to choose to see it.