Living in Wonder

Tim here.

Haven’t had much time or motivation to write lately, but I’m at a point where it feels right to get some thoughts out. I shouldn’t say I don’t have motivation, because many ideas are swirling in my mind, it’s just that when time becomes available I feel like it would be better spent cleaning, or taking care of financial matters, or even occasionally staring mindlessly at the TV. At the moment I’m stuck in a bus on the way to Koodaideri for the last time this year, and possibly the last time ever, since I change teams next year. What better time to write?

I’ve just turned 28, which is a more important new year to me than the big one coming up in a few weeks. I don’t have Facebook anymore, so prior to Kathryn posting pictures on hers I had about 3 people remember and wish me well. It’s funny, I’m not complaining in the least – I’m not one to get caught up in birthday hype – but I guess it goes to show how Facebook takes the effort away from remembering these things. I mean, whose birthdays do I know outside my own family? I’m not going out of my way to wish people happy birthday, even friends I really love and miss and want the very best for… Even if I did, most would probably assume Facebook told them and the specialness would be lost!

But that’s not my topic for today. Today I want to talk about a different social-media-induced effect on my life, which I’ve only slowly been recognizing in recent months. This one can mostly be attributed to YouTube I think, but the Internet and my own curiosity are complicit in the travesty which I’ve identified as Loss of Wonder.

I am a victim of loss of wonder. It’s been stolen from me, or maybe I’ve given it up to the most trivial of things, but either way it’s having a real impact on my life.

I’m the kind of person who loves (accidentally typed “lives” first – Freudian slip?) to learn. I get lost on wikipedia trails frequently, opening tab after tab as hyperlinked words catch my eye. I read textbooks for fun, although that habit’s been waning since the kids arrived. But I guess the point is, I’m driven by curiosity to explore and understand my surroundings, people’s behaviour and even myself.

And like anyone, I’m drawn to viral videos featuring child prodigies, eagles snatching babies, flash mobs, and inspirational individuals who overcome adversity or surprise us all with unforeseen talents. I’m still deeply moved by some of these videos, particularly the musical ones, but what I’ve come to realise recently is that I expect to see anything imaginable and to have an answer to virtually any question at any moment. Even worse than that, I often take in new wonders and bits of knowledge without even changing facial expressions.

“That fellow with no legs defeated all obstacles and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro? Hm, interesting.”

“This new creature has been discovered that exhibits a unique and amazing behaviour never observed before in nature? Cool” *blink*

And sadly, even ones like these:

“A good friend we’ve been praying for has an irreversible condition that’s improved or disappeared completely; his doctors have been doing extra diagnostics and puzzling, because this just does not happen. Nice”

Nice? Cool? These are how I would describe the old ladies at crèche or the temperature late in the evening, yet I can’t come up with better words or emotions to respond with! It’s weird! It makes me wonder: is loss of wonder age-related?

Have you ever been through this? Is it reversible? I think I’m genuinely happy in life, but emotionally monotone. Kathryn, being a wise and loving partner, recognized this and got me some time in a little Cessna for my birthday, which was cool (photo I took of Fremantle below). It was genuinely exciting, and I got to control the plane a fair bit. But that’s expensive, and I would prefer to get the free, everyday variety of wonder and excitement back.

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What gets you excited? What leaves you in a state of wonder? Talk to me friends, let’s press into life and appreciate all that it has to offer.

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2 thoughts on “Living in Wonder

  1. Andrew (Dr. J.) responding…
    I think I know of what you speak Tim; but please don’t take up sky diving, para gliding or the ultimate death wish — base jumping. Bird watching is exciting enough ;-). Wonders are all around. Biological diversity is extravagant. And then there is the cosmos. I recall a conversation I had 25 years ago with a young physician. A few years earlier I had an interest in astronomy and learned to recognize several stars and constellations. I mentioned to the doc that it led to a lack of wonder when gazing upward on a dark clear night. He said that something similar had happened to him as he studied medicine. Fortunately, I have forgotten much of what I learned about astronomy and can enjoy the wonders of the heavens once again. A new twist on “ignorance is bliss”. Not that I am recommending wholesale amnesia.

    One thing I like to do is go for a hike, especially in a natural area. Rarely does this happen without seeing something that will elicit interest, or occasionally wonder. A new (to me) wildflower that then I have to identify, or a barred owl sitting on a branch watching me. Fortunately, not many poisonous things to worry about in Canada. Added interest in the north is the regular but radical change in seasons. Maybe this resets and enhances the wonder.

    And if plants and animals get boring, one can always watch the antics of Homo sapiens. The difference between genius and stupidity, said Albert Einstein, is that genius has its limits!

    Blessings,
    -Andrew

  2. While browsing through some papers on the weekend, I found some notes I had jotted down while reading a book/article by Phil Callaway. This brought to mind your blog and I thought “Here is why I kept these notes” :) Actually, just thought this would be an appropriate time to share these simple principles:

    Characteristics/qualities of living life with joy:
    G – Grateful – be daily appreciative to overcome a sense of entitlement or discontent
    R – Rustproof – no matter what your age, keep a childlike spirit
    A – Amazed – celebrate the amazing creation of God,and His amazing grace. Live in wonder!!
    C – Compassionate – take an uncommon interest in others; serve; look for needs and meet
    them.
    E – Expectant – live in expectancy and hope :)

    One of my favorite ways to simply enjoy life is to take a walk and ‘breathe in’ everything around me – to be fully aware and see the little details that make up the beautiful big picture….I just don’t take those walks often enough! Pick some wildflowers with your little ones to make a bouquet for Mama…and watch the joy in them as they give this gift of love…and as she receives it.

    One more thing….keep a smile on your face and in your heart…people will always wonder about you :)

    Luv you all!! XOXO

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