Thursday, June 25, 2009

Can You Say, "Awe"?

Albert Einstein said that wonder is the source of all true art and all science. “He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.”

I remember standing in rapt awe when I gazed upon the wonders of the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu in Peru. That amazing city was built above the clouds, and it was more than the high altitude that took my breath away. Can you say, “Awe”?

I'm reminded of the little girl who rode a train with her mother. Looking out the window, she exclaimed, "Look! A horse!" And a moment later, "Look! Houses!"

She gave every indication of keeping this up, so her embarrassed mother apologized to the man next to her. "I'm sorry my daughter is going on like this," she said. "She still thinks everything is wonderful."

When do we stop thinking everything is wonderful? When we grow up? When do we stop saying, “Awe”? Does growing older mean growing jaded?

And must we travel to faraway places to marvel once again? Can't we experience wonder and awe today - this moment?

The slice of raisin toast I ate this morning was no less marvelous today than when I first tasted it. But I did not notice how good it really was. I think that few things are commonplace in themselves – it's our reaction to them that grows dull over the years.

A man on his way to lunch happened to notice a visitor in Venice’s Piazza San Marco standing among the pigeons and gazing in apparent rhapsody at the Doge’s Palace. After his meal he noticed the same man still studying the magnificent structure. Curious as to whether he’d been standing there all morning, he asked the man, “How long have you been here?”

“Twenty six years,” came the reply, “and I never grow tired of it.”

As Einstein observed, those who will “pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe” will TRULY LIVE. They will see what others miss. They will feel what others cannot. Life will be for them both exquisite and mysterious when they learn to say, "Awe."

-- Steve Goodier

Image: Seybold


OP2MIST said...

I LOVE this post. I get excited over the smallest "thing" & people always remark how I am acting like a little kid .... that being a COMPLIMENT. A sense of AWE is a wonderful thing.... Thanks for the post Steve....

The Life Of A Junebug said...

The story of the man standing in Venice's Piazza San Marco and staring at the Doge's Palace reminds me of a quote by Marcel Proust: "Great discoveries are not always in seeking new landscapes, but rather in having new eyes." This is true.