What does it mean to Wonder? Have you ever thought about it?
Recently, I was apart of a conversation where a number of people I know and love mentioned this phrase, repeatedly.
“I want to get back my wonder” was the general consensus as well as how did one go about regaining it or even getting it in the first place. As the discussion progressed it got me thinking.
(So yes, I’m going to say it…you ready? )
I began to wonder about Wonder.
(I know, I’m a nerd and I am completely and totally cool with it. lol)
We sing songs like...May we never lose our wonder...Why?
Personally, I really like Wonder. I live and breathe there. As an Artist, particularly one trained in architecture and design, I have a unique perspective of things. Yes, I mean that as an "interesting-good" way, (as opposed to "interesting-weird" way). Besides being naturally observant, I'm also trained to notice things people walk by everyday, well, they walk by unnoticed that is until those things stop working properly. (Roofs, for instance, no one pays attention---until they leak.) The direction of sunlight wind, terrain and water movement are things I've learned to catalog that usually go unnoticed. Just as importantly however, as an artist, I see the beauty of the color and texture of both the natural and built environments. I love their connection and relationship to each other. I walk around very comfortably with Wonder. Things on a whole are so much more beautiful when I acknowledge and appreciate the care and skill behind them. Every artist appreciates those that realize their craft, whether they are musicians, dancers or plumbers. But that brings me back to my original question.
More then asking why is Wonder important, one of my favorite questions I’m learning to ask is, what does it mean? What does Wonder really mean? Not the act but the feeling. How did it start for me and how did I keep it?
When you think of Wonder what comes to mind? How about as a believer? Do you think Respect or Awe? Fear of God? First love? You know, the amazing feeling of when your faith was new and God was near and it all was an amazing new way of looking at life with new purpose, new
family, and new identity. All new. All exciting.... Or do you think of Wonder more like the delight your kid has over something as simple as a weird shaped rock? Or in my daughter's case, the awe inspiring wonder of those orange cones in the parking lot and having to stop and look inside........each......and......every......single.....one.....
Meanwhile, Mommy's over here jumping out of her skin trying to hurry up an get where we are going. Missing it......yup, happens to all of us.
At its' most basic it seems that Wonder is child-like. It reminds us of what is what like to be a kid when the world was bright, hopeful and new. Before pain and disappointment colored us with cynicism. Everything was an adventure, magic was only a dress-up dress and a summer ice cream cone away and princes were real. It also reminds us of a small child once pulled from a crowd on a dusty first century hill and stood before a group of scholars and then told by Jesus that those same scholars should be like him. A child. Child-like.
As I've been asking these questions, I am beginning to discover that behind the relatively simple child-like idea of Wonder there is a much more vibrant reality.
Hope violently takes over when you look in the eyes of a smiling God and realize you're actively loved. It's true. Someone is in your corner. Someone who doles out promises and then actually keeps them. I have a Glorious Hero and I can't help but Hope even in the face of impossible odds as His love overcomes my reservations.
The best part is His love is the same on my worst day as on my best, much as I have more difficulty in receiving it and letting Him comfort me in the middle of my mess or the deep dark places. It's much easier for me to hide in a corner and pretend everything's ok. I'm really good at hiding. I'm really good at covering the tears by a smile, all the while my heart bleeds broken behind it. I've been a master of the polite smile. Instead, I'm learning how to let myself be seen and it's much harder that way. I've learned and am continuing to learn that being vulnerable ironically takes such great strength. Wonder helps. It colors my world with Hope. The sun shines again breaking through the clouds. I'm learning to let Him into my broken, insecure places, this God with the tender eyes. Wonder is the evidence of a shift in my perspective. Hope sometimes comes in spite of ourselves. Seeing that life is beautiful despite the fact it isn't always a bed of roses and sunshine is a choice. In fact, it's one I consciously make until it becomes one I unconsciously make. I've walked and seen deep, dark, scary places too. Yes, it is hard in moments to stand up and keep going when you'd rather wallow in self-pity and eat chocolate but I've never regretted choosing Hope and living with Wonder. Yes, I've experienced exploitation and being powerless in the face of injustice and the trauma it creates. Yes, I know betrayal and loneliness and even there I'm among good company. Jesus, himself was betrayed by a friend. So was David. So have many, many others. In my story, it's taken me time and I'm slowly relinquishing the deep wounds only to be relentlessly hugged by the Holy Spirit.
"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into his grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character per; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our heart through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5: 1-5 NASB
But the deeper that realization of love goes the more Hope has colored the world around me. It carries a weight that buoys me regardless of circumstances. That's what gets me through the rough patches. Wonder is the byproduct of Hope born of being much loved. As Love grows, Hope grows and Wonder grows spontaneously along with it. The world is brighter because of Hope. I'm free to laugh, free to dream, I'm even free to believe in others and hold onto my promises, all because Hope gives me the vision of what's on the other side. I can stand in hope even when others disappoint me. Hope allows me to see the curve-balls as the Adventure I'm being called into. Wonder shows me that God is fun. He dances, He plays. He wars. He loves Ferociously and as I have experienced it I've begun to discover the adventure of Hoping in a radiant God. For me, that means it literally bleeds out onto canvases big and small. My God is an adventure, all by Himself and a glorious one at that.
So what do we do and where to from here?
First, jump with both feet into the realization that His love is for you. Yep, you, right there. You. Even if you're a snarky t-shirt loving, yoga pant abusing, paint splattered person like me. It really is true that you're known. Your story is known. Your scars are known. You're courage for getting back up and starting again, YES, that is especially known. Surround yourself with reminders of that love. Put that quote on the wall. Hang up that painting that moves your heart (see awesome ones here
, yes, that was a shameless plug). Put all over your space reminders that give you courage that you can look at it in those moments you feel less then awesome. Then readjust your heels and step it up. Second, explore what Hope looks like for you. How would switching out your viewpoint from cynicism to hope practically look? How can you respond with Wonder instead of biting sarcasm? Do those two things and watch as your perspective shifts. Life is so much better when you realize its an adventure that awaits and not another day to survive. Adventure is out there and wonder awaits! Be brave and choose it!
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