Freerange Friday: The Gift of Wonder
by Lilly Lewin
As we consider the Shalom of God this month, one of the first things that came to mind, after savor, was the gift of WONDER!
Jesus says: “Let the little children come unto me.” And he places a child in the midst of his followers and says that the Kingdom belongs to the children. It is easy for children, they still have the gift of WONDER. Jesus also says that we need “ears to hear and eyes to see.” “Let he/she who has ears let them hear…”
I love Eugene Peterson’s version in The Message Bible…
“But you have God-blessed eyes—eyes that see! And God-blessed ears—ears that hear!”
I believe that our world needs to know, needs to experience the Wonder again in order to experience the shalom of God.
When I was in college I had a date with a guy who took me out for coffee and one of his first “get to know you questions was “ when you were a kid, did you color inside the lines, or outside the lines?” My answer was “I created my own coloring book!”
I didn’t know anything about the Ennegram back then, but I am a “7,” and this totally fits. Sevens are known to bring pixie dust wherever we go, and we are always on the look out for an adventure.
The thirteen grandchildren on my side of the family now expect me to bring my Mary Poppins bag filled with everything from crayons and stickers to sharpies, and post-It notes and maybe even bubbles, and always snacks. I don’t ever want to be bored or want anyone else to be bored either! Often my husband says that I’m really just five-years-old because I get really excited about a vista or buying balloons, and giving them away to people just for fun. My favorite part of the art museum is the part that is for kids and hands on learning. I am wired to see the fun and wonder in life. I know not everyone is wired like I am. And I know that there is a lot of suffering and conflict in our world and that it is often hard to see the wonder around us or find the joy in the hardness of life. Too often we miss the wonder because we get blinded by fear, anxiety, and too much conflict on social media.
Most people have to turn things off to get to WONDER.
If you are a production driven, achiever kind of person, you are checking your list off each day and typically taking time for WONDER is not on the list.
WONDER gets pushed out of life.
So you will need a change of venue.
And you might need to find some friends who come by WONDER naturally and start hanging out with them.
What are you interested in that brings you joy?
How did you experience the gift of WONDER as a kid?
Find the things that attract your less grown up self. Maybe it’s art, maybe it’s motorcycles, or design, or roller coasters, or backpacking, or trampolines, or dogs! Animals help us wonder because they aren’t sarcastic. Especially puppies! Go to the Humane Shelter and love on the dogs or play with the cats.
Volunteer to babysit a friend’s kids and see what they are thinking about and playing with.
Now that my kids are grown, I find friends with younger kids to go to movies with because I love animation but I don’t want to go alone.
And that brings us to laughter! We all need to laugh more!
WONDER will bring you to joy and laughter and sometimes tears.
Rediscover what makes you laugh.
Watch a great movie. One of my favorite movies that captures WONDER is “Finding Neverland” with Jonny Depp.
In this movie from 2004, Depp plays J. M. Barrie the author of “Peter Pan.” Barrie is a playwright who has had a couple of flops. He is looking for inspiration and one day while he is journaling in the park, Barrie meets the Davies family of three boys. The Davies children are still recovering from the loss of their father. Their mother, played by Kate Winslet, needs all the help she can get to keep her household going. Barrie already has a childlike wonder for the world but it is through his interaction with the boys that this wonder blooms and grows into the magnificent story of Peter Pan.
The story I tell in my curating worship workshops involves the opening night of Peter Pan. Barrie has asked that about 20 seats be left open, scattered throughout the theater. The curtain is ready to go up and the director/producer is ready to sell these empty seats. Just at the last moment, a line of small children walk up to the theater. They are orphans Barrie has invited to “seed” the audience. They know that dogs, and fairies and pirates are funny. These kids know when to laugh. And they haven’t lost their gift of WONDER! So their laughter helps the finely dressed, upper crusted London theater goers experience the joy and wonder of the play. They laugh too! They reconnect with WONDER!
Lord give me ears to hear
And the peace to actually listen.
Give me eyes to see
And the patience to actually pay attention!
Lord, give me ears to hear
And the ability to be still and hear you in the silence.
Give me new eyes to see the wonder all around me!
Give me new ears to hear the laughter and music, and experience your joy
rather than the static and the noise.
Give me child like wonder to see that ordinary things have extraordinary beauty.
Thank you for God-blessed eyes—eyes that see!
And God-blessed ears—ears that hear!
Thank you for the gift of WONDER.
Help me to experience this so I can share it with others. AMEN
find out more ways to bring child like wonder into worship at freerangeworship.com