Sunday, October 21, 2007


O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me too lofty for me to attain.
Psalm 139:1-6

When you are in a wondering mood, what captures your wonderment? Can you recall the last time you were enthralled by the mystery of grace? As adults, we’ve little time in our busy lives to stop and indulge in childlike wonder. Sadly, like an unused muscle, this precious, life-giving ability seems to atrophy.

As a new grandma, I love to watch baby Evan. In between his two primary activities—eating and sleeping—are brief episodes of wakefulness. His beautiful, wide eyes gaze around intently, taking in his surroundings. For three week old Evan, the world is fresh and captivating, just as it was for Adam and Eve when they opened their eyes for the first time in the Garden of Eden.

Just imagine experiencing things visually for the very first time, unencumbered by memories and interpretations. I wonder, does an infant see things exactly as God created them and exactly how he wants us to experience them—free of fear, skepticism, judgment... Imagine being completely open, without expectations, hidden agendas, or mixed motives… Just pure, unselfconscious communion and oneness with God’s creation and with our Creator. Just the thought of this makes me want to sing,

“Open the eyes of my heart Lord, open the eyes of my heart.
I want to see You. I want to see You.”
Paul Baloche

The eyes of my heart. I wonder, do the eyes of baby Evan’s heart see with such spiritual clarity and discernment?

We are surrounded by the wonder of God’s creative frenzy, yet somehow we often see right past it. Bouts of fear, worry, resentment, complaining, lethargy, grief, anger, sadness, _____________ (you fill in the blank) cloud our vision. The challenges of life, and the emotions they unleash, are crosspoints on which we teeter between growth and retreat.

Often it is in the very midst of a crisis that we encounter God’s living presence in life-changing ways. In The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning, states that “the spirituality of wonder knows the world is charged with grace, that while sin and war, disease and death are terribly real, God’s loving presence and power in our midst are even more real.”

Recognizing a subtle, spine-tingling charge of grace, and responding with wonder, is sometimes even more elusive as we deal with the ordinary, mundane activities of daily life. For me, little children, furry animals, and nature are gifts of grace that, in the words of Joy Sawyer, “help me return to the sense of wonder at common, everyday events.” (Dancing to the Heartbeat of Redemption)

Little children are enthralled with the itty-bitty. When my daughter, Beth, was a tot, the sight of a daddy-longlegs was cause for excited squeals and uncontrollable bouncing, and all action came to an abrupt halt while she paused in rapt attention, fully absorbed in her latest discovery. Then would come the non-stop questions about every minute aspect of the newly discovered creature. And this process would be repeated with each-and-every daddy-longlegs she spied—every day—for an entire summer! A child’s wonder can be exhausting for a busy toddler’s parent! Oh, to have such vision!

Our heavenly parent welcomes our questions and delights in our curiosity and is never exhausted by our wonder. Whether you are in the midst of an overwhelming crisis or trudging through the tedium and frustrations of an ordinary day, I pray that you will have the eyes of an infant, the curiosity of a child, and the attentiveness of the psalmist, discovering anew a “world charged with grace.”

“I pray…that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened.”
St. Paul, Ephesians 1:18

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