From the dictionary:
"WONDER: a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable: he had stood in front of it, observing the intricacy of the ironwork with the wonder of a child."
I can't count the number of times I have used the word "wonderful" without taking time to really notice what the word means. It has become an easy way to describe something good or pleasant or great. Even the word itself has lost its meaning - has lost its wonder.
Wonderful. Wonder - full. Full of wonder.
Little kids are the best for showing us wonder. Look at the expressions of a baby discovering her hands for the first time, then experimenting to see what happens when she does something with them. She is absorbed in the experience, curious to see what is next. Her awareness is expanding.
Many of us lose that as we get older. For much of my childhood I was waiting to grow up. I couldn't drive until I was 16. I couldn't vote until 18. It often felt that childhood was for learning and adulthood was for doing. As I grew, wonder took a back seat. Yet, in my 17-year-old race to sober adulthood, the auto mechanic I worked with advised me not to lose the child in me. He made me promise to remember it. Jimmy knew the value of wonder.
As adults it can be even easier to lose that sense of wonder. When life is moving fast and we are on the edge of stress, there seems little time to stop and notice the detail and richness of ordinary experiences. We're more interested in getting answers or getting things done than exploration or discovery.
Yet, strangely, when we take that bit of extra time, wonder refreshes us.
Rachel Carson called wonder "an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength."
I'm glad Jimmy made me promise not to lose the child in me. This morning I stepped outside in the dark and watched the ISS cross the sky above my home for a wonder-ful 6 minutes.