Like a child who suddenly stops sobbing when he is clasped in the arms of his mother,
such will be the grip of heaven upon our souls.
Ravi Zacharias “Recapture the Wonder”
I’ve been trying to schedule some time to finish reading this book. In light of my own book project I think there are some things in it I need to read as he alludes to chasing things. But the title is enough for now and when I finish it I will probably do some entries on the topic. I had a discussion with some people about different portions of life and which one we enjoyed most. There have been so many blessings and experiences and joys thus far. But as I get older I would go back to childhood in general and second would be the summer between my junior and senior year.
Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches aside there was something more to it. I mean no one would pass up a riveting game of hide and go seek or follow the leader or king of the hill if it popped off today and it could get you out of submitting a TPS Report for work. Recess and summers off were the best. I can recall looking forward to learning a new letter in kindergarten each week and hoping that when they got to ‘D’ it would mean we would get doughnuts and ‘I’ would be ice cream and “R’ would be extra recess. And perhaps those upcoming letters shines a little light on why this season of life is so significant.
While my childhood was not pristine it was still valued; something cherished. Christmas was a bittersweet day. Kids were not always the best towards me, kids in my church did not seem to be as connected as you would expect. There was still something about it that made it best. I have not finished Ravi’s book but I feel like he has drawn attention to this issue of wonder. Ravi says “Wonder is that possession of the mind that enchants the emotions while never surrendering reason. It sees in the ordinary the extraordinary, and it finds in the extraordinary the reaffirmations for what it already knows.”
I remember looking out the long rectangular windows of McEachron Elementary and looking at a tree and creating a whole story about how it got there. In the large field behind the school were a set of steps to nothing seated at the head where the field terraced back toward the school. We had turned them into a ramp to jump from and the door step into a house; another world, a space shuttle, an ice cream/doughnut shop (that one may have been mine.) Wonder as a child was simply taking what you had in front of you pushing it to see something that can be there. If life gives you the lines, then wonder is the colors and shades that give depth and width and breath.
When you get older something happens. I cannot figure out if it is because the outlines are drawn too hard or the colors and shades fade but in either case the result is that wonder is given over to something else. Maybe it is the calculative life we live. Maybe its the excessive rules. Or the fact that as you live you find yourself in failure or being failed. At times you believe in people and the expectations are too high. Or more likely if you are like me you believe in yourself and your own expectations of yourself no one could live up to. Or perhaps it is success. Sometimes we actually achieve and it does not produce the effect. Whether you succeed or not I think what happens is we do not default back to wonder. The striving for wonder has been replaced with something that usually is too large for reason to exist also. It is wonder… but its jaded and irrespective of present realities. When we were children we took what was available and built from it. In adulthood we build a dream and then try to destroy reality to make that dream work.
Oh to get back to proper wonder instead of wander. To dream extraordinary things about people and life and relationships that is not detached from reason. To draw the lines as God gives them to you and fill the colors at the same time. To seek without striving. To Stretch without straining. To see things and people in the proper sense and hope for extraordinary but within the bounds of reality that has been given.
I think some of the right aim is starting to see the extraordinary in others. I marvel at my daughters imagination. How she’ll include ANYONE who is around. The dog gets a staring role along with me, the teddy bear and the wall. People visit and they become guest stars. She is not the main character. Perhaps our striving ceases when our best wonders are what is beneficial for others. We wonder what God can do in their life is the more extraordinary thought.
The older I get the more I see people who are really hurting. Past failures, lost hopes, and dreams deferred. The drain of life and things that you wish would come true that the timing was off or it just was not in the cards. Children seem to have a bounce back. The move on to the next toy, the transition to another imaginary story, the next space shuttle will depart in ‘T minus 10, 9, 8,….’
I long for that bounce back. Dread when I am just going through the motion. Long for it where pursuit of wonder is in congruence with the creator and solace is found in the certainty that He is able to do far more than we could ever imagine to ask. I find myself trying to give that hope and wonder to others. To push them to see what He can do and what is possible and how sweet and noble life is. I find my biggest wonder is somehow I could be their to help them. The one who comes along side and encourages solace, peace, purpose, humor, a PB&J sandwich. Reminding people that while we do not have all the answers the opposite would not be as brilliant of a story. Cinderalla would have been over if she would have asked “why do I have to be home by midnight?”
I hope to be that person. But even there I find myself with little bounce back because its not always easy encouraging others to keep striving to keep dreaming noble thoughts. And it really has very little to do with me doing something wrong. Its just not yet the right time.
I’m rambling. I have not wrapped my heart around this. What I do know is eternity is in store and there will be arms that will wrap tightly around us that we will be left with nothing but incredible thoughts and love for God and one another. Until then hope for eternity in that perspective. To do anything else will be chasing a dream.
Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.
(Dear Lord and Father of Mankind – John Whittier)