The Graceful Gift of Wonder

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The world will never want for wonders; but for want of wonder. – G.K. Chesterton

In this simple sentence, the great Christian apologist has given us two truths. The first is obvious to anyone who is awake. The God-created world is crowded with the indescribable wonders of nature in all of its variety. There is the wonder we can be suddenly struck by at the birth of a baby. There is the innocent wonder that lights the eyes of a curious child. There is the surprise of wonder and awe that strikes us when we witness an act of human courage. The list would be endless.

The other truth is that most people are too distracted by gadgets, by busy-ness, by pleasures of all kinds, by the need to be entertained artificially through technologies, or drugs, to be able to experience anything like wonder. They are too engaged in gain, or in immediate gratification, and they miss the wonder that they are surrounded by at all times and in all places. They are too focused on their ego concerns to see beyond the narrow confines of that miniscule place.

It is those who turn away from that navel-gazing attention to the immediate, toward the other, or toward God, who suddenly find themselves in the boundless terrain of wonder. Awe is their natural state. It makes them aware of the infinite wonder that hides behind every human mask. They begin to see as God sees and they are filled with awe. These are the people who keep wonder alive. They are too few, but they invite all of us to join them. Wake us up, Lord! We long to be filled with your sense of simple wonder.

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