Albert Einstein once said, “Whoever does not know mystery and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead.” The Oxford English Dictionary sums up “Wonder” as the emotion excited by the perception of something novel and unexpected, or inexplicable; astonishment mingled with perplexity or bewildered curiosity.” The ability to wonder seems to be at the heart of young children, their imagination and creativity are heightened by their ability to wonder, to take the world beyond the obvious. Children possess an innate ability to see the world with fresh eyes, constantly asking "why" and marveling at the simplest of things.
Unfortunately, as we grow into adulthood, we seem to lose that sense of wonder. Adults think that we must outgrow wonder in order to project confidence, knowledge, and wisdom. But William Brown, in his book, Sacred Sense,” disagrees with that thinking. He says that “….wonder has all to do with wisdom!” Rachel Carson believes that “wonder is key to our livelihood on this planet. If we lose our sense of wonder, we consign ourselves and the world to destruction.” (The Sense of Wonder, Rachel Carson, 1998, pp 100-101) Wonder often arises when faced with the mysterious and the unexplained. Wonder can extend beyond the realm of the physical and scientific, reaching into the spiritual. The vastness of the universe, the intricacies of life, the beauty of nature can lead us to contemplation and introspection, fostering a deeper connection to a higher power or a sense of the sacred.
Created in the Image of God
We are created in the image of God; we are the only part of creation who are capable of wonder, of grasping the “Awe” of the world around us. Wonder is not a fleeting emotion but a lifelong pursuit. Intentionally seeking out wonder can lead to a richer, more fulfilling life. Wonder isn't reserved for grand moments or extraordinary experiences—it can be found in the everyday if we learn to see the world through curious eyes. Embracing wonder is a choice, a conscious decision to engage with life's mysteries and marvel at the beauty that surrounds us. Many find that we can enhance our ability to wonder by practicing such things as: always be mindful of our surroundings; stepping out of our comfort zone to explore new places; work with art materials, paint, write, draw; spend time in nature regularly, intentionally making notice of sunsets, sunrises, etc; engage in childlike activities, blow bubbles, fly a kite, build sand castles to name a few; and always maintain a sense of gratitude, giving thanks to God the Creator who gave us this ability to see the world in new ways. Remember that wonder is a gift that enhances your experience and enriches your perception of the world. By intentionally seeking out moments of awe, you're opening yourself up to a world of beauty, mystery, and inspiration that's waiting to be discovered in every corner of your life.
Einstein's words serve as a poignant reminder that a life without wonder is a life diminished, and it's up to us to keep the flame of wonder alive. I wonder how we can engage in wonder in our everyday lives…. I wonder if Jesus was challenging us to wonder about the world around us when he said that we must “become as children” to enter the kingdom in Matthew 18:3.