Astonishment and Wonder

 Four years ago, Terry and I were taking care of our grandson Sebastian.  Our son-in-law was immersed in a frantic effort to get from his work assignment in Africa to Maryland where our daughter was hospitalized in unexpected early labor.  As if that were not stressful enough, Sebastian woke up pulling his ear and crying “Take it off! Take it off!”  We got him quickly to the doctor’s office. His ear was so full of wax that it had to be cleared out before the ear could be examined.  In the following days, Sebastian was astonished by the gift of his renewed hearing.  He would frequently say “Listen!” or “Did you hear that?”  How much he had been missing!

Sebastian wasn’t hearing things because of his infected ears.  But how much do we miss because we simply aren’t paying attention?  Mary Oliver, whose poetry I have recently quoted in this blog, wrote “Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”  What a succinct and delightful formula.  What might be the outcome of living in such a way?  I would love to hear from readers about your own experiences with paying attention, how it impacted your experience of wonder, and how you have sought to share what you have discovered. Please put your comments in the spot designated for responses.

May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter.  Shalom, Kate

Hope’s Café Bonus: The good news from that week I described was that  our son- in- law was whisked from the airport directly to the hospital and was there for the birth of Sebastian’s baby brother, who arrived safely after several difficult days.   Happy fourth birthday, Gabriel!

3 thoughts on “Astonishment and Wonder”

  1. One thing that I think is sad is when people are at a restaurant and instead of talking to each other, one or both or all of them are on their cell phones. I was at KFC a few months ago and this little boy – around 3- was there with his dad. The dad was playing on his phone the whole time. Sitting nearby, I interacted (silently) with this charming little child more than his dad did. When we got up to leave, the child actually tried to follow us out. His dad didn’t even notice. So I waited at the door until his father finally looked up and realized his son was no longer at the table. It was just heartbreaking.

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  2. My insight comes from a teachable moment several years ago. Teaching PE in Florida is a big outdoor experience. One of my slightly autistic students was once found sitting cross-legged next to our activity field while his classmates played a tag game. When I asked him if he was ok, he replied, ” Look at all the bees.” Stopping there for just a moment, I realized that in that patch of grass were thousands of tiny flowers called Florida Snow… and the boy was right. There were dozens of bees busily collecting nectar and not bothering any of us. I now practice that very thing my student taught me. I stop and look at the spider web, the moss, the light coming through the trees, oh and I often see bees going on faithfully with their work.

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  3. There’s a quote by Einstein that I often think of whenever I experience wonder. He said, “There’ are two ways to live life; one as if nothing is a miracle, the other as if everything is a miracle.” When I remind myself of that second approach, I seem to notice more jaw -dropping moments of awe & wonder. I’m glad I stopped by Kate’s Hope Cafe today and enjoyed an ample serving of food-for-thought encouraging me to be more receptive to the wonderment of existence. My aspiration is to nuture more such moments in my life with a grateful attttude.

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