E.B. White once said, “Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.”
When I first heard this quote I was drawn to his simple invitation, compelled because during that season I had been living my life through a scattered whirlwind of attempting to balance a therapy practice with three young children in tow. To say I was hurried and overwhelmed most days was accurate. Not only was I missing out on the overlooked beauty of my own daily surroundings, but I was so busy juggling the “must do’s”, I truely was missing out on the “wonder” of it all.
Yet, as I unraveled the quote even more, I took great delight in uncovering the multifaceted way in which I could approach “looking out for wonder”, in my own life.
The definition of wonder can be found here:
a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable:
“he had stood in front of it, observing the intricacy of the ironwork with the wonder of a child”
From this vantage point, being caught up in “wonder”, could not possibly happen without slowing down, with intention. As I took the time to focus on whatever was at hand, definitly a lost art at that time of my life, I began to be compelled as I was captured by the ordinary beauty in everyday things. Yes, I had to redirect the pace, most certainly, but as I did, I was surprisingly rewarded.
I saw it was next to impossible to look, really look, at my children without stopping to awe and wonder at the magnitude of such a perfect design (on most days).
I also was able to breathe in the sweet smell of our new puppy , finding myself thankful for the wonder of innocence. I also admit to the wonder of my own strength to not return that new puppy, a few months later, once she decided destroying our home would be her new and number one job.
Later it became getting caught up in a perfect sunset, or finding myself choked up as I witnessed my little ones treading off to a new school, wishing the time would slow down. Having my breath taken away by new landscapes still is one of the biggest reminders to me that God exists.
Finally, I was awake and living.
Yet, this “wonder” did not stop there. As shown below, wonder can also be described as this:
to desire or be curious to know something:“how many times have I written that, I wonder?”
To wonder about something involves invoking a kind of curiosity, alongside an innate desire to learn and grow. To explore the possibility of looking at things from a different perspective, invites empathy and compassion in situations where other, less favorable intentions may have existed before.
Yes, as we “wonder” about new possibilities, ideas, and options, we can open up a world not otherwise discovered.
To passively accept things as they are is a learned belief. From the start we were made to explore and question. If you are ever around a two year old, you certainly know this to be true. Yet, life happens and if we are to be honest, disappointments occur along the way. We see that plans change, and find that people (even the best of them) are not perfect.
Yet, that does not have to be the rest of the story, although often times we make it that way. To let those disappointments turn into a jaded resolve can be tempting. The complacency that often occurs when hope is gone means you have surrendered to something far less than what you are made for. We always have the choice to see things differently, but to “wonder” how it could be so? That is the first step.
To “maintain” the active pursuing of “looking” for wonder, while simultanously cultivating the desire to “wonder” about what could be, does in fact change things.
It invokes a life of gratitude, love and connection, and rhe priceless gift of a never ending opportunity to learn from others.
As I reflect on “awe and wonder” and how it often changes my perspective for the better, I “wonder” how it may change yours too.