Monday, October 26, 2020

Pausing to Say WOW!

I recall a story about Noah Webster (of dictionary fame), who suddenly found himself one day in an embarrassing situation. He was caught kissing the maid in the kitchen pantry by none other than his wife.

“Why Noah!” she exclaimed. “I’m surprised!”

Always the semanticist, Noah replied, “No, my dear, you’re amazed. I’m surprised!”

No, I don’t know how they ever resolved that situation. And we all know that not every surprise is a happy incident. But I also know that I enjoy my life more when it’s punctuated by little surprises and, even more importantly, by happy moments of genuine amazement.

The poet Rumi once said, “Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.” Yes, bewilderment. Or buy wonder. Or an occasional dose of awe. 

One parent told about moving from a farmhouse into a new house in town. The children were delighted. Early the next morning, the 3 ½ -year-old ran into his parent’s bedroom to wake them up. He couldn’t wait to explore. Mommy dressed him and told him to play in the yard.

About 20 minutes later, he came running back. “Mommy, Mommy, everybody has doorbells - and they all work!"

Welcome to town. And as amazing as it seems, most of those doorbells really do work.

I’d like to get hold of some of his bewilderment and wonder. Life really can be amazing when we slow down enough to consider it.

Have you noticed? People are aching to enjoy life more. But it’s not too much to hope for to imagine that they can actually look forward to each day with genuine anticipation. Especially if they form the habit of looking for wonders everywhere they are. The world is full of amazing people and wondrous spectacles. 

I don’t want a day to pass without pausing at least once to say WOW.

--Steve Goodier

Image: Rønning

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