Do you remember when you last stood in awe of something? Where that thing, that event, that experience just made you stare in absolute wonder! I have been lucky enough in my life to experience some wonderful things, but some of most memorable are when I first saw my wife Haley walk down the aisle at our wedding or when I first held my daughter Chelsea after my wife gave birth to her, or when I got dropped off on a mountain peak in Canada to go Heli-boarding for the first time.
These are events and experiences which are etched into my memory, that give me great satisfaction and longing when I think about them. But life has sometimes got in the way. Working 50 plus hours a week as a teacher, sometimes the ‘wonder’ disappears from your life. Replaced by the responsibilities of being an adult, an employee. This can stretch on for weeks, months and years without much respite and one can start to find themselves tired, strung out or even at times unfulfilled.
The innocence of a child
I was reminded recently by my 18 month year old daughter just how exciting and how wondrous life actually is. We recently had a pool put in our back yard and Chelsea was glued to our lounge window watching the digger and truck move soil out of our back yard. A seemingly mundane experience for an adult, but for her this was the first time she had ever seen this. So, for the next week she loved nothing more than to watch the pool guys do their thing and dig us a pool.
I started watching Chelsea a lot more closely after that, taking in her experiences with her. We would go for a walk around our neighbourhood and while she is being pushed in her trike she would reach out a hand a feel the bushes as we walk past some. She would run over to the lake and squeal with glee as she watched a flock of ducks approach her thinking she had food. I have recently started letting her feed our dogs and she knows at 6:30am every morning Daddy would bring out two cups of dry dog food and she will want to put it in the dog bowl herself.
Some of these experiences seem like chores to me as an adult, but for her they bring a sense of excitement, new experiences and wonder to her life that I for one have taken for granted. My wife Haley and I before becoming parents would holiday together by going camping or hiking, we love the outdoors and it is here where we can unwind and rejuvenate. It’s during these times that we not only grow closer together, but we grow closer to God. The wonder of the outdoors is what truly confirms the existence of God in my life and strengthens my relationship with Him.
Let the wonder back in
Psalm chapter 19, verse 1 states: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands”
When I start to feel the stresses of life pulling me down, I will often retreat to Gods creation, where I can rest in the wonder of this world He has created. Is escaping to the outdoors the answer to life’s stress for everyone? No, we are all built differently, unique with various desires and passions and there often isn’t a one size fits all approach to creating wonder in your life.
However; what we all do have in common, is the need to stop, take a break and do something about bringing ourselves out of life’s rut. What each of us needs every now again is for something to stop us in our tracks and make us stare in absolute amazement, to spark a new memory, a new experience that we can carry with us for the rest of our lives.
Life is a treasure trove of cool and wondrous experiences, but there are also the more mundane responsibilities of paying bills, mowing the lawn or taking the dogs for a walk. Normal life activities that can seem a little harder to swallow if you have a stressful week, but they are more or less always there.
We need to be more intentional about including more wonder in our lives by stopping, taking a breath and having a look around, you will find that wondrous experiences and things are around us all the time, we just need to take a minute every now and again and let the wonder back into our lives.
Jarred is an HPE and Mathematics teacher on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, he is married to Haley and has beautiful daughter named Chelsea.