Retaining a Sense of Wonder

Lindsay - Columbia, South Carolina
Entered on January 26, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

I was recently in Seattle, ferrying across the river to Bainbridge Island. I was tired and the last thing that I desired to do was to walk outside onto the cold deck. I, like many others, inside the cabin had all separately come to the decision that the view of the bay was not worth the discomfort of stepping out into the chilly North Eastern air. However, as I began to watch some others going out to stare at the scenery, I started to notice how much more alive they seemed compared to those who had remained inside. Desiring to be more like the observers on the deck instead of one of the many in the sedate cabin, I decided to bear the cold and go outside. Of course, the view from the ferry was glorious, stretching out unto forever. The low temperature and the blowing wind made looking out at it uncomfortable, but there was something in the view that kept both others and I outside in all of it despite it.

I have to say that what kept me outside on the deck of the ferry is not just my love of beauty but also my sense of wonder. Unfortunately, most people prefer the warm cabin to the windy deck. They seldom stop to look at the world’s little wonders and instead pass by small glories every day.

A grand scale is not required in order to inspire- every piece of gray sidewalk has its own share of stories, stories of resilient feet and insightful bystanders. For example, how deep is a blade of grass? You could spend your whole life studying it and still never understand all of its complexities. How much greater, how much more wondrous, is the world that we so casually pass by every day? Even more so, each person has his or her own history, pains, dreams, and futures, and while humanity might be one of the more flawed aspects of the universe, humans are still one of the marvels of the world.

Life has lost its sense of wonder for too many. Of all the many wonders in the world some are easy to identify, a mountain range or the ocean, and others we pass by. Many people rarely stop to look closely at the world and as a result they only glen a shallow understanding of it, but just thinking about the earth and her people and how they encompass such vastness, depth, and minuteness all at once cannot but make me marvel at the complexity and continuity of it all. It is of course impossible- even impractical -to remain continually awed, but it is important to remember to be amazed at times, even if it is at something as small as a blade of grass. I believe that there is some virtue in remembering to do just that.