I Believe in Wonder

Beth - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Entered on March 31, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: question

I believe in wonder. Wonder drives me to do and create and interact and explore. Wonder lures me forward, and it stops me in my tracks. Wonder keeps me growing and actively engaged in the world.

Wonder has two definitions, and I find them equally compelling — the exciting state of curiosity that feeds my brain, and the moments of stillness and awe that feed my soul.

As a child, my parents each encouraged wonder in their own way. My mother answered my many questions with trips to the dictionary and encyclopedia. We would then browse the books, letting each answer lead us on to a new question.

My father filled my mind with sillier versions of curiosity — drawing me pictures of fanciful creatures and telling preposterous stories about them. He taught me the joy of imagination — how to let wonder take me on any journey I want.

I believe wonder is the secret ingredient in learning, creativity and spirituality. It leads me to seek answers where they exist, invent answers when I can, and accept grace where there will be no answers.

Love, to me, is a perfect potion of wonder — a devoted curiosity about the depths of another human being, a patient desire to learn how my partner will reveal himself in our years together, a quiet bemusement at all of his oddities, and a dash of breathless awe that he actually exists…. Love is a WONDROUS thing.

Most importantly, wonder keeps me swimming in the soup of life. Just like my grandmother…

Last year, my sister and I received word that our grandmother was gravely ill. Her heart and kidneys were failing, and the doctors expected her to die within the day.

We hastily drove 250 miles to her hospital. As we entered the room, my breath caught in my throat as I couldn’t tell if we’d made it in time. But, as we approached her bedside, Grammy turned her head, pulled her oxygen mask to the side and with a barely audible whisper greeted us with this question:

“Do you know the score of the Drake game?”

Her hometown basketball team was having a miracle season, and even the spectre of death couldn’t separate her from her curiosity about their tournament accomplishments.

Her insatiable wonder about what was going to happen next — with her children, her grandchildren, great-grands, books, soap operas, politics and sports – kept her fully immersed in life even as her body failed her.

Not surprisingly, my Grammy lived for another few months — we got to hear fresh stories of wonder about birds and butterflies and newly made friends.

I miss my Grammy, but I often feel her close to me as I wonder about things. I’m grateful for that legacy.

Every morning, I try to greet the day with the question “What will happen next?”

What WILL happen next?

I wonder….