Shakespeare wrote of our sense of wonder in “The Tempest”:
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t!
The world is full of wonder because of the people in it. As children, we lived in wonder. We were wonder. It was continually the brave, wondrous, new world for the child. As adults having experienced both the kind and unkindness in life, that wonder tarnishes somewhat. It takes practice to regain wonder.
Regenerating wonder requires the rigorous practice of helping others get to who they are. Wonder listens to others as greater than, creating the space to pursue their greater path. Wonder takes practice as adults; it may no longer be natural.
I talked with my friend and officemate Chris about once being young and now growing older. Chris and I are about the same age. I said, “Yeah, life isn’t fair.” He smiled, “No, it’s not.”
Chris’s words resonate in sublime gravity. He lives with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and uses his wheelchair to get around. Chris exhibited symptoms in his mid-thirties. Before the disease’s progression, Chris was a big-time marathon runner, running many major races. He qualified for the Boston Marathon on several occasions. He ran 3-hour marathons. That’s damn great.
Today, Chris is retired from the military and providing his expertise for a Government enterprise program. We work together on the same program contract. He has an awesome family: a great wife, son, and daughter. Life is good. No more marathons. And Chris is good with that, as well.
Life may not always be fair. Rather life just is. Chris sees the wonder of the world through his kids, and in the meaningfulness of his life. He gives his all as husband and father. He discovers the sense of peace in who he is. The world is about more than just him. He’s a great man. Chris inspires me.
Wonder may seem elusive at times. Yet, that wonder we once experienced as kids can be rediscovered in the life we live. When we strive to become greater than who we are by giving life our all, our wonder is revealed richer, matured. That’s the sense of wonder I got from my friend Chris. He inspires that wonder in me, too. Amen.
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