At what point do we begin to lose our sense of wonder?
When do we let that sense of awe at the simplest things slip through our fingers?
At what point do we begin to explain away the magic around us as something…well, ordinary?
I love this picture above of T. I took it last Christmas when my fam and I went to visit Santa at the museum. Santa is great and all, but I think, by evidence of T’s face, the dinosaurs and fossils and other exhibits were far more exciting. That night at the museum was so much fun, chasing the boys around as they discovered all sort of things. Their little faces were full of wonder and excitement. They couldn’t take everything in fast enough.
Wonder is actually one of my favorite, though seriously underused, feelings. I think that’s why I love movies and books so much. I love when other worlds or places or ordinary things come to life in incredible ways through other’s imaginations. I remember reading the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis as a child and imagining that if I crawled in my closet, perhaps I too, could travel to Narnia. And I remember as an adult, going to see the movie a few years ago and being filled with that same sense of wonder as I watched Narnia come to life on the screen in front of me.
I’ve been thinking a lot about wonder over the last few days. Earlier in the week I had a particularly rough day. I got home and felt not only defeated, but everything around me just looked bleak. I woke up the next morning still feeling pretty blue and it actually pissed me off. I didn’t want to be blue and grumpy. I didn’t want to be faced with just another bleak Tuesday…I wanted to be filled with wonder. And surprisingly I wasn’t disappointed. I stopped at Starbucks for a festive beverage to cheer me up and on the way to work I found myself actually stunned to tears by the brilliant colors of the sunrise. If it wouldn’t have made me late, I would have pulled over and watched it unfold completely.
I drive to work to the sunrise every morning. What made it different on this morning? Was it just my decision to not be grumpy? I’ve always loved sunrises and sunsets. Why did I ever let them stop capturing me in their beauty? When did I stop letting them fill me with wonder?
Wonder is also why I loved the holidays so much as a child. The holiday season is rapidly approaching and it can be such a time of wonder. But it can also be a very difficult time for a lot of people. It’s been a hard time of year for me for the last several years. I remember as a small child wishing days like Thanksgiving and Christmas could last all year long because they always felt so magical and bright and full of amazing. Not because of the presents necessarily, but because of the stories and the lights and the music and the decorations and the food(let’s be honest, the food might be the best part).
Growing up, there was plenty of bleakness in our daily reality. But I remember the holiday season being the one time of year I could forget. I forgot about the stress and loneliness and chaos of the rest of the year and I clung to the hope and wonder of the season….
I remember the wonder of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and the smell of turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie. I remember the awe of watching the Nutcracker on TV and the magic of actually dancing in our local Ballet’s version year after year. I remember the smell of apple cider bubbling away on the stove and waiting for snow and the feel of cold wind burning my face as my sled flew down the hill. I remember letters to Santa and the warm glow of Christmas lights that always made our tiny living room feel like a safe place. I remember the smell of candle wax at late night church services and the enchanting melodies of O Holy Night and Little Drummer Boy. I remember these things being so much more than ordinary.
Why is it we forget this kind of wonder the rest of the year?
Life is busy and stressful and full of a lot of horrible things. But there is so much to be grateful for too. There are such good and incredible wonders around us….all the time. Like sunrises and sunsets that bring us to tears when we remember to open our eyes. And snowfall on a November Sunday that takes our breath away. And the miracle of new life. And I could go on and on….
I want to grab hold of this wonder again. Not just as the Holiday season arrives, but on random Tuesday mornings when I’d rather stay in bed and on cold Sunday nights as I prepare for another week of work.
Eyes wide with wonder.
Mind dissecting each discovery.
Hands reaching to touch, to bend, to build without fear….
Each breath baited with the possibility of adventure.
Each color, a song of other places and other worlds.
Each shadow, a foe that can be vanquished.
Each day ending with the excitement of stories made &
Dreams of more stories yet to be told.
Awe…to have those eyes and mind and hands again.