This I Believe

David - Chattanooga, Tennessee
Entered on July 5, 2007

I believe in wonder. There have been several events in my life that have validated wonder as a core to my being alive. The first was in first grade when Ms. Peacock called me out of my “daydreaming” back into the classroom. She later sent me home with a note explaining that my daydreaming needed to be corrected. As I fast forward through my adult years, I look back on that event as a defining moment. My parents could have stifled my capacity to wonder. However, what they gave me was the blessing to keep wondering. Perhaps, their blessing to wonder is how and why I became a pastoral caregiver.

In my early years as a pastor, I served a small nursing home in Louisville, KY. One of the people who lived there was a retired school teacher named Meta. Meta was blind and she smoked like a freight train. I would often sit with her and aid her in her smoking by guiding her hand to the ashtray. As I did this I wondered if she would burn the facility down or herself. Likewise, she wondered if she could have another smoke. These smoking sessions seemed like such small insignificant acts to do for another. But it was the liminal space of our mutual wonder that brought tears and laughter into the space we shared. She was another teacher along my way. As such, one thing we did everyday was to walk to the adjacent school playground and “watch” the kids play. Every time I did this with Meta my wonder was evoked. She could not see the children playing. However, her limitation of sight invited her to reach out into the imaginative world of the children. She would ask the children what they were doing and they would laugh and tell stories to one another through the fence. It was if I was seeing through her beautiful green eyes a world of her past and the joy of the present. There was an awe full appreciation for the imagination and play. I felt that awe.

The day Meta died I grieved. But deep within I wondered and I daydreamed about how we would “see each other again”. Though I don’t know the answer to this pondering, my wondering says we will. I envision she is somewhere close to a school yard smoking watching children play. I wonder and I sit in awe of these moments. I miss Meta. Our few moments together gave me a fellow wonderer. For which, I shall ever be changed and I shall continue to believe in wonder. Sincerely,

David Carnish