This is my final installment inspired by my 8 month old, Max (at least for now).
I’ve always been a bit of a thinker and ponderer. I’m often inspired by the things around me but as I watch my son I realize that I have much to learn about awe and wonder.
See Things from a Different Angle
There was a journal article by one of my professors in graduate school that talked about love and she used the analogy of a vacation. She talked about the excitement of going to a foreign a country and exploring, but pointed out that the people that live there likely don’t feel the same. I certainly don’t have magical feelings about Manhattan, but tourists seem wide eyed when I see them. Her emphasis was on learning to become a “tourist” in your romantic relationship, but I think this idea can be extended to many things.
This is why I am such a huge fan of metaphor and alternative outlets to pull us out of our “boredom” with church and the bible. I recently posted the scene in Chronicles of Narnia where Aslan is slain because it impacts me so powerfully. I think the image of Jesus on the cross has been so saturated into my being that I’ve lost something, but the same story told differently sparks something inside of me. This is of course one way to reinvigorate our faith but another is to invigorate our lives with more awe and wonder. Out of awe and wonder can spring thankfulness and gratitude.
I love watching Max stare with intensity at something he’s seen over and over or his joy at discovering a piece of fuzz on the carpet. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not perfect; he gets bored just like the rest of us broken humans but his capacity for wonder puts mine to shame.
As I was writing this I asked myself, what would Max do? He would just look around and soak everything in. So I did just that. It was fun. I didn’t think. I just pretended to be him seeing everything and everyone for the first time; trying to allow curiosity, awe, and wonder to enter into my being. I resisted all the thoughts that sought to take me out of the moment and enjoyed just looking around- not allowing self-consciousness or embarrassment to enter the equation. How refreshing was that moment! Dan Seigel, in his book The Mindful Brain states, “As automatic thinking dominates our subjective sense of the world, life becomes repetitive and dull.”
I think one of the things that really adds to Max’s sense of wonder is that he doesn’t understand why things happen and how they are the way they are. His is a magical world where light and water appear from nowhere. As we get answers we lose that sense of magic.
I’ve often wondered why other religions are so appealing to people over Christianity. I’ll hear that people are intrigued about a new age belief or ancient religion in a way that is not at all like their view of Christianity. I wonder if it is because Christianity has lost its wonder because it presents itself as having all the answers. In other words, there is nothing mysterious about modern day Christianity.
I think we can restore some mystery and wonder to our faith. I’d encourage us to not be so quick to find answers. Stop trying to solve the paradoxes and conflicting verses and just let the current of the questions carry us along.
Why solve the paradox of freewill and predestination when we can simply enter into the story where we are swept along by a powerful plot as we struggle to become the hero of our story.
I will end with the Chesterton quote I cited in the last post:
“Because children have abounding vitality, because they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”…For the grown-up people are not strong enough to exalt in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough…It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun…It may be that He has the eternal appetite for infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”