December 4 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? (Author: Jeffrey Davis)

I saw this post late last night, after a very long, exhausting day.  It actually distressed me quite a bit, as I thought, “I haven’t done anything to cultivate a sense of wonder…in a very long time.”  I had no idea how I would approach my response.  Wonder is a child’s emotion…it’s something that we must outgrow, right?

By very definition, wonder is a sense of awe, astonishment, surprise or admiration.  I’ve always felt that wonder was the feeling of magic.  Wonder is the look in a child’s eyes when they see the presents under the Christmas tree.  It’s the feeling you get during your first time at Disneyland.  It’s watching the trapeze artist at the circus.

I spend the majority of my life in the routine…busy job, two teenagers going in different directions, a husband, extended family.  There’s little time for looking inward, or focusing on any sort of introspection.

Yesterday, we had the memorial service for my grandmother, at which I was one of those honored to speak.  Over the last week & a half, as I prepared notes that I would ultimately discard while at the podium, I talked to so many members of my family…cousins, aunts, my mother, my children.  It’s so hard to condense such a full life, and all of our memories of her down to bullet points.

Our family has the usual amount of drama.  There are a lot of strong personalites, and often, one person will hurt another’s feelings with a stray jab, or a cutting remark.  Yesterday, I found myself marveling at how each of us put aside differences, held the catty remarks and reached out to comfort, support and love each other in our grief.  Over and over again, we’d put our arms around each other, and say, “I love you.”

My sense of wonder has been cultivated in the effort that our family makes all year long to stay connected.  It’s so easy to drift apart…to talk to clients more than our own relatives.  To push off until tomorrow the phone call or the email.  To be reminded to say, “I love you” to those that we cherish the most is a gift in itself.

With two teenagers in the house, I realize that my husband & I provide textbooks for what they do and how they behave with our actions and our words.  I’m glad to say that they saw us at our very best yesterday. 

It’s through our children that I continue to realize a sense of wonder…not only in the people that they are becoming, but in looking at where I come from.  Connecting with my family, whether it’s the Friday night pizza & Rock Band with our cousins, or the daily calls to my mother, extends that feeling of admiration for those that are not only my family, but also my friends.