His eyes grew large in wonder and he almost gasped. He was in awe. But of what? All I could see was the wall, a window and curtains. Surely nothing gasp-worthy. I inquired of his mom: What’s caught his attention? She replied that the difference between light and darkness typically caused him to look in wonderment.
As I held this dear, two week old child, I wished that I had similar wonder at the world I lived in. I felt nostalgia for the ability to be amazed. Yet, even witnessing this child’s awe, made me return to a place of childlike delight.
G.K. Chesterton wrote a piece called “The Ethics of Elf Land”. How do you get to the point in your career where you get to write on amazing topics like that? I digress. His basic premise is that fairy tales are more for the benefit of adults than children. Children know they live in a magical world, while we adults grow out of “silly beliefs” like that. Fairy tales remind us that a flowing stream in our world is just as wondrous as a golden, rippling stream in a story.
This is a sad realization (for me at least, I can’t speak for you). So much of the adult life modeled is to set aside wonder. It is labeled childish. Immature. Ridiculous.
But what if we got it wrong? Maybe growing up doesn’t involve closing our eyes of wonderment? I wonder what would happen if we let our wonder loose? I don’t think it goes away. We just seal it up into a box labeled “childhood”, never to see the light of day again, except for the rare moment when it just won’t be contained (i.e., experiencing something so breathtaking that we forget we are rational adults).
I so easily dismiss the wonder around me, so often unaware of its presence. Yet, there are the moments when my attention is caught and I am brought back to the truth that we are surrounded by God’s created beauty. And my eyes, if ever so briefly, grow wide in wonderment.