I’ve been thinking a lot about the gift of wonder. It started while I was reading Brennon Manning’s book, Ragamuffin Gospel. The author is telling a story about an older Rabbi who is on his deathbed. The Rabbi’s good friend pays him a visit in his last hours. The Rabbi reports to his friend that he is dying a happy man. He goes on to say that he never asked God for fame and fortune but simply requested the gift of wonder. How beautiful I thought. But Manning reminds the reader that“By and large, our world has lost its sense of wonder. We have grown up. We no longer catch our breath at the sight of a rainbow or the scent of a rose, as we once did.” How true, I thought. We’ve forgotten how to slow down and admire the natural gifts around us.
This struck me deeply. It made me question my own ability to pause and see all the majesty around me. The gift of wonder, which once provided an outlet and even a diversion to thinking about self, doesn’t even get a moments thought today. Most of us are not interested or curious about the natural phenomenon or beauty all around us. It dawned on me that this beautiful gift of wonder is clearly an antidote to the culture enemies found in the media including social media and pornography. With no time to stop, admire or ponder some of the beauty around us, we have all the time in the world to focus on social media, self, and in some cases pornography.
As parents, I think it is imperative to model wonder. We must demonstrate the ability and the gift of pausing to see the beauty in things around us and to connect with the people who are in our presences. How will the next generation know how to slow down, look around and engage in face to face connection if it’s never modeled? Sharing the gift of wonder with our kids may afford them the opportunity to escape the self-obsession encouraged in today's social media — what a relief.
Cue the statistical proof on the gift of wonder. Fight the New Drug, an organization dedicated to educating teens about the harmful effects of pornography, reported that the percentage of streaming porn dramatically dropped during the total solar eclipse. They stated, "people were too busy staring at the eclipse in most parts of the country to log on and watch the most hardcore content imaginable.” During the eclipse, all states reported a drop in porn viewing with some of the largest decreases occurring in Wyoming (down 54%) and Colorado (down 35%). Now, that's a true phenomenon.
I have dedicated this year to seek out the gift of wonder in my own life. I have also committed to praying that my older children will see me admiring the beauty in the world around me and they too will seek it in their own lives.
Wishing you all a year full of blessings including the precious gift of seeking wonder.