Every so often, I find that I must rediscover wonder. It’s not that I ever truly lose sight of it, or doubt that it’s there (that is hardly possible to do in a world so full of it!) – rather, it’s simply that I get so distracted by my big projects, packed-full schedule, and preoccupied mind that I forget (for a moment, for a week, for a month) that there are much more important and wonderful things around me that require stillness and silence to comprehend.
It can sometimes even (though I feel ashamed writing it!) become commonplace for me to let the splendor of a sunset or the beauty of bluejay go completely unnoticed, when so preoccupied is the state of my mind. It becomes easy to live as if the world around me were “common” (not magical, as it quite obviously is). For a time, I can forget that I am in a magical realm, full of wonders created by God – and when I do so, not only do I miss out on joyful delight of the world around me, I miss out on all of the ways He can and does speak to me through His creation.
Now, you might be thinking that the world is hardly magical and wonderful, at least due to the entrance of sin in this world – but, I maintain that though the reality of sin and evil is definite, that does in no way lessen the wonder and beauty of God’s creation. We truly live in a magical realm, even though that magical realm is now prey to evil – much like Narnia after the coming of Jadis (or, the White Witch).
The times when I am most aware of wonder in myself are times when I make it a point to spend regular time in prayer and in quiet. Focusing on the Creator allows me to better see Him in His creation (for, anything beautiful in creation is simply an echo of His own beauty). And then, I also start to recognize the wonder in every other aspect of my life – in my everyday work, in conversations with friends, in the magical cup of coffee I drink every morning (really, it’s like a magical spell of energy! I know it’s the effects of caffeine, but who’s to say that caffeine isn’t a magical substance?). When I spend regular time focused on God, it helps me also stay focused on Him throughout the rest of the day and be aware of the beauties in His creation and His constant, joy-bringing presence.
Oddly enough, this time it’s something as simple as Instagram that is helping me rediscover wonder – through the wonder of a simple snapshot. Sometimes, it’s important to take time away from the utilitarian and instead focus on that which has no practical value, but is all the more beautiful for it. Perhaps I gain nothing from taking a picture of a magical, transforming leaf and posting it online for friends to see – but, the act of taking the time to notice the leaf, acknowledge its magic, and share the wondrous experience with others is worth more than many useful or practical tasks – for, it helps me to see more clearly and live more joyously.
And, taking part of this practice of wonder-seeking allows me to find that even my useful and practical tasks are quite wonder-filled. As an example, I daily send out Interlibrary Loan articles and books to library patrons as they request them – perhaps one of my more “mundane” tasks. However, though it’s easy to see the boredom of such a task, it’s much more worthwhile to recognize the wonder in it – isn’t it marvelous that I am sharing knowledge and stories and written words with readers, even though they’ll never know it was me who sent them? Indeed, I feel like a librarian-wizard – granting powerful weapons to readers across the world simply through the click of a button.
I know that life will happen, and sadly I know my wonder will have moments when it starts to fade yet again – but it is my hope that when it does, I will again be reminded of the importance of prayer, silence, and intentional wonder-seeking. Because, it’s when I focus on the the wonders in the world around me, wonders of unquantifiable value, that my sight is clearest, that I am my truest self, and that I am best able to hear the constant ways God speaks to me through His creation.