by Christine Sine
Looking back is a rich and empowering process for me, at least it has been this year. As I read back through my journal from 2018 the thought that came to me was: This has been a year for thinking differently.
The writing of A Gift of Wonder has changed me and my spiritual perceptions in ways I never anticipated. It all started with the awe and wonder walks that Tom and I instituted after reading about the impact of awe and wonder depletion on our lives. Take notice, take notice, take notice was the core of what I read – take notice of the small things, the big things, the different things , the things that break our hearts and the things that give us goosebumps. That was what I picked up as I researched awe and wonder, and then I applied it to my life.
Noticing Begets Noticing
Wow – what a year. Noticing begat noticing begat noticing. Once I opened my eyes, awe and wonder became a new way to see the world and new spiritual lens through which to view everything. It doesn’t mean I naively saw only good things around me, but it meant that I could look with awe and wonder at those who suffer as well as those who rejoice. There is so much resilience in suffering people. There is kindness and compassion, there is generosity that overwhelms me. When I look with the eyes of awe and wonder I am inspired to respond.
Here on Godspace I began the year with the blog series “for love of the world God did foolish things’ – so many foolish things that God has done – from creating humankind from soil, and giving us free will knowing that one day we would mess it all up to putting into actin a plan for our redemption that depended on a baby born to an unwed mother and ending up being crucified by the religious and political leaders of the day. How foolish can you get?
If that wasn’t enough to rattle my cage and encourage me to see differently, I started to take more notice of the political landscape and the stories that broke my heart. Gun violence, political chaos, hurricanes, fires and migrant caravans all pulled my heart apart. Yet they also inspired me as I gazed with awe and wonder at first responders risking their lives for people they never knew, and watched the resilience in the midst of desperation of people who have lost everything.
The event that most impacted me this last year was Ford vs Kavanaugh. It compelled me to look at the story of Mary and Joseph with fresh eyes, revealing new layers of the gospel story and new depths of awe and wonder for this incredible couple and the incredible journey they embarked on, literally changing the world as a result.
Seeing Differently As A Way of Life.
I suspect that my year of seeing differently will become a lifetime of seeing differently. All I need to do is resolve to keep noticing. That of course means I need to slow down long enough to do so.
Noticing is not just a form of observation either. It means noticing emotions and our responses to them. It means not turning our backs because we feel overwhelmed but allowing the spirit of God to work through us in response to what we have noticed be it by the simple act of picking up a rock that caught our attention or by getting involved with the homeless or the victims of fire.
Awe and wonder has the capacity to change us and to change the world. I know it has done that for me, will you allow it to do it for you too?