Wonder: n: a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable; v: desire or be curious to know something.
We are heading into what I call the “Season of Wonder.”
The leaves change color, and inexplicably vacate the safety of the trees. Fields are harvested, providing their food and a reminder that we are both providers and recipients of God’s provision. The first frost appears on the grass, and birds head south on a mission to spend the cold months without it. And we turn our hearts toward staying warm, spending time with family, recognizing how we have been blessed, and how we can bless others.
Last week, I was able to enjoy the beginning splendor of the changing leaves in the foothills of the Blue Ridge, when I visited Lydia Mountain Lodge for a local business event. Looking out over the treetops, I was reminded of how easy it is to get completely lost in the beauty of creation, and the intricate detail with which every single piece and part have been created. I found myself exclaiming over the breathtaking beauty, easily chatting with complete strangers, and shamelessly snapping selfies!
That’s what Wonder does for us.
Embracing wonder breaks down walls of cynicism and jadedness, allowing us to experience beauty in ways that touch us deep in our soul. Like pinholes of light breaking through a canopy, reminding us of the way we viewed things before we “knew better.” When we allow ourselves to be surprised, overcome and curious about life, our perspective shifts and our experiences are more potent and meaningful.
All of us, however, seem to let this particular ability fall to the wayside as we grow. We learn the science behind a phenomenon, the truth behind the myth, and little by little our ability to be surprised and in awe of life is chipped away.
We’ve all seen the difference between the way a child and an adult experiences the opening of a flower ~ one counts the petals and marvels at how many there are, the other burdened with the knowledge the flower will fade and die once it’s bloomed. We watch children waiting anxiously for the leaves to fall and raked into a wondrous pile in which to land ~ and the adult dreading the work that process requires.
So, how do we get that back? Can we still experience life with wonder, while knowing the reality of how things work and the ramifications time marching forward? Call me crazy, but I believe our knowledge is actually a benefit rather than a curse.
Allow me to explain.
I know how the crocus in my garden stores nutrients in the bulb, waits out the winter, and when the temperature is just right, begins using those nutrients, sprouts new growth and peeks out above the soil. That knowledge in no way diminishes the joy I feel when the leaves appear through the snow. In fact, knowing all the intricate details that need to be “just so” increases my excitement. I am constantly in awe of how everything works together so perfectly… like it was designed that way.
I believe we will never recapture the wonder of childhood ~ we know too much ~ I think we can, however, grasp a much more rich and nuanced wonder that is founded upon the new knowledge we gain each day. Yes, it’s easy to let our experience push out the surprise and amazement we could experience when faced with new and wonderful things ~ but we don’t have to.
Don’t allow it.
Decide to be astounded by your knowledge and experience, and the light it shines on the “ordinary miracles” happening around us every day. Allow your knowledge to spark curiosity ~ the more you know, the more you want to know. That’s how we tap into a deep, rich, and overwhelming Grown Up Wonder.
Be intentional. Take a deep breath, and choose to be amazed ~ birdsong or skilled pianist; stunning sunset or dedicated artist; faithful pet or loving friend; budding flower or blooming child… life is full of wonder, and the older we get, the more wonderful it becomes.
Wonder is not just for children. It’s something that grows with us, and allows us to become deeper, more grounded, more open, and yes, more optimistic.
Head over to my Facebook page and share how you cultivate the deep, Grown Up Wonder in your life… or better yet, join our Intentional Optimist Facebook Group, and join a community of women where we celebrate the wonder of our beauty and diversity through helping, teaching and mentoring other women.
We’ll laugh ~and wonder~ at the days to come!