Having gone to sleep with a dusting of snow forecasted overnight, I woke up to the ring of a text from my daughter, “Snow Day! School is cancelled.” She lives about 20 minutes away, but they had been forecasted to have several inches. The reservoir between us was supposedly the “difference maker!”
So, I got up that morning hoping to see at least a few flurries. Instead, what met my eye was literally a winter wonderland and the snow was still falling hard. I’m not ashamed to say, I squealed softly, did somewhat of a little dance/jump while the corners of my mouth lifted in a big smile and my eyes must have twinkled as I stood there taking in the wonder. Yes, I’m a big kid when it comes to frozen precipitation!
I know for those areas of the country where the presence of snow is common and the forecast of more is met with a deep sigh, this is an odd response. But for this native Florida girl now living north of the panhandle, but still in the Deep South where it is a rarity, it evokes not just a little excitement.
Though a couple of our kids were home for the holidays, as was my 4-month old granddaughter, they were still completely unaware and sound asleep under the covers. I resisted the urge to run upstairs and toss a few snowballs into everyone’s rooms to “share the joy!” (Yes, I have been known to do that in the past when we had a snow or two and my excitement to “play” in it exceeded everyone else’s. It did elicit the response I desired in that moment as I was followed outside for “revenge” and everyone ended up having fun in the process).
This time, however, I enjoyed a cup of coffee and the peaceful silence of watching it fall, anticipating everyone else’s “ooo’s” and “ahs” to come.
One by one, everyone woke to see the world outside their bedroom windows “raining” snow and covered in the “white stuff,” so we were joined by more who shared in the amazement of the unexpected and who were quick to build a small “Frosty,” to engage in a little target practice with one another as the snowballs were formed, and to attempt to catch my son’s Husky who may have been the most delighted of all!
And, as with all things during a baby’s first year, we watched with anticipation as my granddaughter experienced her first taste and touch of the “cold stuff” along with her first snow ride atop her comfortable and protected perch in the sled that her daddy pulled around. And we all stopped to watch; smiles and laughter.
Funny how the “small things” of life can bring such joy…and wonder!
A baby’s smile.
A comforting hug.
Sunshine after days of rain.
A hand up after falling down.
A smile instead of a frown.
A bicycle ride or a walk through the woods.
A crackling fire on a cold winter’s night.
The deep quiet hues of a sunrise or sunset.
And then there are the larger “wonder” inducers of life as well…
A vast mountain range.
Waves upon the ocean shore.
A hike or a motorcycle ride along a mountain cliff.
A raft down a river, sometimes gentle and other times over tumultuous rapids.
Making one’s way through an open field, gentle breezes blowing as waves of grain or colorful flowers sway.
A ride down a majestic tree-lined road.
A sail across an open bay, wind moving it forward across the silent sea.
A still night, darkness all around and yet the stars and moon bursting out in bright array, declaring the glory of God.
“A feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.”
Taken for granted, “it is what is” and no more. Stopping in the moment, we recognize it for what it really is – the fingerprint of God! His gift within His creation, a moment to ponder in our hearts.
Eyes to see.
While out west, we were mesmerized by the open desert, the deep canyons, and the majestic mountains. And, yet, I spoke to someone who had been caught up in the wonder of the “greenness” that dominates our state when they visited, in contrast to the rocky barrenness of their own desert landscape.
And I’ve read of those who live where rainfall is virtually non-existent that are enthralled by the sound of raindrops on the rooftops and the feel of precipitation against their skin. Those who long for the warmth as they bundle up against the frigid cold and those who long for “seasons” and the arctic air in the midst of their tropical temps.
Perspective has a lot to do with wonder.
Do we miss the opportunity to marvel in our everyday?
The people. The places. The experiences.
Do we ignore the glory in the ordinary…because it is, well, expected and “usual?”
Do we lose sight of the amazement of what’s in front of us and yawn at the familiar because we have grown accustomed to it and have lost sight of its own wonder, its own delight?
There is a “wonder and wildness” to life, as Michael Card sings, and freedom for those who “obey, who “forget not the hope that’s before (them) and never stop counting the cost!” There is a joy in the journey as we intentionally take hold of the amazement that is “life.”
I’m not just talking about the “life” that pumps adrenaline through our veins, though there is a great excitement and definite delight in that. I love those big moments, preparing for them and squeezing every moment out of them. And I love seeing God use those times in our lives for refreshment but also as opportunities for us to be used by Him.
But I love the quiet moments of life as well; those “treasures in jars of clay.”
Can we take delight and rest in what makes up most of life – the ordinary days where God is at work in the sometimes mundane and longs for us to see and delight in even that? Can we grab hold of the amazement of recognizing what is right before our eyes, not losing sight of the awe of the familiar? Can we prize the moment and the circumstances that are ours and see beyond the surface? Can we be intentional about not allowing discouragement or anger or bitterness or boredom or desire for the “extraordinary” to cause us to lose our joy in the “now,” to lose our wonder in the everyday? Does that seem like an oxymoron? Not with God!
We may look and see the ordinary; another may look and see the treasure.
We may look and see the expected, the norm; another may look and see something worth grasping and cherishing.
We may look and see routine; another may look and see opportunity for delight in our commonplace.
We may look and see “what is”; another may look and see what it really is and what it could be.
We can look in front of us and see wonder.
We can look in front of us and see delight.
We can look in front of us and be refreshed.
Because He is in the midst of these moments, “doing a thousand things we cannot see.” (John Piper)
And there is wonder in it all!
“The whole earth stands in awe of the great things You have done. You make the going out of the morning and the evening shout for joy.” Psalm 65:8
“In Wonder” Newsboys
So much wonder
Carved in Your coral seas
So much wonder
Shaded by ancient trees
I consider all Your hands have made
Every newborn’s eyes, every new sunrise
No power can tame Your presence
No light can match Your radiance
Let all creation sing in wonder
Every sea, every creature, every star
You opened up my eyes to wonder –
What a vision, what a wonder You are!
Such a wonder
Ordering time and tide
Such a wonder
Bridging the great divide
I consider all that You had, all You gave
And all that You endured
From this rebel world
What a wondrous cross You chose to bear
What a wonder You would even care.
Let every rock cry out
Let every knee bow down
You opened up my heart to wonder
What love, what a wonder You are!
No power can tame Your presence
No light can match radiance
Such a wonder!
“Many, LORD my God, are the wonders You have done, the things You planned for us. None can compare with You; were I to speak and tell of Your deeds, they would be too many to declare.”