In the Interim:Wondering about Wonder
Being a wordsmith, I think about those subtleties of word choice often. This
month’s theme is “wonder,” and so I have been, well, wondering about it.
Wonder, like, I wonder what will happen or I wonder what is in there…..Certainly,
wonder is about curiosity or thinking about the unknown. But it seems to hold
positivity for expectation of a good discovery, more than fear of the outcome.
There is a double-meaning wish that people share, with the potential for good or
bad intention, “May you live in interesting times.” The word “awesome” is like
that, too. Although we usually exclaim “Awesome!” when we see something very
pleasing, it does have another connotation, too. The awesome power of nature is
what propels mud down a mountain in a mudslide, destroying everything in its
path. “Awesome” and “Interesting” could mean good or bad.
Wonder has a vast feel to it. The wonder of it all when the air is crisp and
snowflakes are falling, or at the beach with the sun shining and the waves crashing.
Everything feels huge and we feel so small, but we are so happy to be
there…..wonder is how we relate to the vastness of the universe.
A medical wonder is somebody who beat the bad odds to have a positive outcome.
A sense of wonder is what we feel at the inexplicable hugeness of our world.
When we wonder about something, it has a hopefulness to it. For instance, fretting
is not full of wonder, we do not typically worry and wonder, we worry and fret.
But when we encounter something or somebody or a thought we have not
encountered before, it might be with a sense of wonder that we marvel at this thing.
Wonder has a little bit of magic to it. I approach worship services with a sense of
wonder. Even though it is ritual. And many people have carefully planned what to
say and do and sing. The overall collective result of assembling people together
for a moment, so that we may think about something larger than ourselves, is
always a wonder. There is a specialness of us being together, but it is also bigger
than us, too.
This December, may you experience wonder frequently. Interesting is fine, and
some things are truly awesome. But when you encounter new ideas or things, may
you approach them with a sense of wonder, aware of the vastness of this life, and
the wonder-full expectations for good outcomes.
In peace with love,