As a child, wonder existed for me on a daily basis because the world was new and full of the unfamiliar, each new experience brought with it the full texture of life, including the pure joy and happiness of wonder. You can still see it in the eyes of a child when a fire truck goes by, as adults we think, oh my, I hope someone isn’t hurt, but a child; in the moment unjaded by time, sees a shiney loud truck full of firemen and adventure, and their mouths fall open and their eyes follow along, taking them on some unseen journey of delight and wonder.
Christamas brings back my memories as a child as a time full of wonder, the culmination of a season, the concept of peace and joy seemed possible, hikes through the woods to find the perfect tree, hours sitting stringing popcorn for the garland, wrapping presents for your brothers and sister, wonder was around every corner.
Christmas is when I realize how much I miss that childhood wonder and hope that I can somehow get it back. The thing about wonder is, if it is grasped too tightly, then it becomes forced and elusive, just around the corner. Wonder is destroyed by the familiar, it’s not until you see through another’s eyes, like a child does the hint of wonder return.
I have a friend and coworker, that I admire greatly, who still holds lightly to her sense of wonder, we talk often on the phone, but on those rare occasions when we are together for a meeting or conference, we find ourselves walking while discussing a particularly complex work topic both too antsy to sit in a stuffy room, often during these strolls she will stop suddently, take in a quick breath and exclaim something wonderous; a magnificent tree, the color of the leaves or the cast of a shadow on the path. In that state she will lose herself in wonder for a brief moment before coming back to herself and the topic at hand. For me, seeing the familiar through her eyes, I feel the wonder, it is so intense that I think I may have finally found my way back. But then the familiar returns destroying the wonder.
I have learned many things from this very smart and insightful person, but the knowledge of my lost sense of wonder is the one I treasure the most. I long for that childlike wonder, and I think there is a grace in trying to get back to that state.
I’m certainly not there yet, but I can see it is just beyond my grasp, and I think that I want it just enought, but not too much, I may yet get there, because a sense of wonder is lightly held.
Maybe just opening my eyes is all that it takes.
Merry Christmas to all and here is to peace and wonder.
©The Autobiography of Mr. Perfect 2015