Monday, July 30, 2012

Childlike Wonder

Whenever I witness a child experiencing something for the first time, whether it is eating new food or seeing a new sight, I always feel blessed. Not religiously blessed, just lucky to be able to watch and enjoy all the awe and excitement that goes along with the moment. That sheer amazement that makes them pause, if only for a couple seconds, and simply enjoy whatever it is they are seeing, hearing, thinking, or feeling.

Children are a world of firsts. Every day something new crosses their paths. That tickles me because, as we get older, our firsts become sparser and, most tragically, less noteworthy. It's like as we lose our innocence we also let go of our desire to discover and our passion for new things. Which kind of seems backwards, since we're supposed to get wiser as we age. In our 'grown up' state, one would think we'd become more observant, but for some reason it's as though we develop blinders and often ignore the opportunities for growth.

The older we get, the less impact the world around us has. We become tougher. Less emotional. Cynical. We no longer pause to witness something we've never seen before. A glance, a subtle acknowledgement, this is all we can muster for a bird we've never seen before or a piece of music we're hearing for the first time. How heart-breakingly truthful.

What's even sadder is how our wonder over things that once astounded us slowly evaporates until we no longer see the things that used to render us speechless. Our firsts become routine, tiresome, insignificant. What once caused us to stop in our tracks and hold our breath in amazement no longer seem important. Interest fades. We continue to move along, not really seeing, and certainly not taking notice of the life around us.

I don't want to be like that. 

When I was camping with my friend, he pointed out the deer roaming around the camp-ground and I felt this flutter inside, similar to the butterfly feeling in your tummy when your crush says something ridiculously sweet. It's the feeling of excitement and affection and desire and happiness all rolled into one, and seeing the doe with her fawn sent this unique feeling surging through me. And it isn't like I haven't seen deer before. I've seen hundreds of deer, if not thousands, yet I still got excited. I stopped walking and took note of what I was seeing.

And I told my friend that I hoped I never lose my sense of wonder over seeing deer. He asked what I meant and, because I love to hear myself talk, I explained this whole thing. About how people are less amazed the older they get, or the more they witness something. They become desensitized to their surroundings. Things aren't as remarkable or awesome. It's like the world loses it's colour. And I never want to be like that. I want to take note, to stop, to wonder and revel in my admiration as much as possible. I want to use my senses and see and feel and hear and smell and think. Forever.

Of course, he's wise, you know. He said I don't have to lose my sense of wonder. And he's right.

None of us have to lose our childlike wonder. So, why do we? Are we really so busy that we can't stop for a few seconds? That we don't have the time to take a brain-snapshot of what we see? To imprint an image, sound or smell on our memories? To enjoy what we are experiencing, even if they aren't firsts? Even if we've seen, heard or felt them a hundred times before?

I try my best to reveal in my childlike wonder, to keep it front and centre as I walk through life. Yes, at times it's embarrassing, like when I stare up at the heavens with mouth agape and utter such ridiculous phrases as, "Look at the sky, it's crazy" and "The sun is so cool." Anyone who's witnessed these moments probably thinks I smoked a few dozen marijuana cigarettes and am spaced out and orbiting earth, but that's not the case. The world just amazes me.

Every time I see the night sky, I'm mesmerized. Nature astonishes me. Animals enthral me. Art impresses me. Music dazzles me. Old buildings calm me. Patchwork quilts excite me. Hands massages comfort me. Cake thrills me. Horror movies delight me. Puzzles entice me. Books please me. And I'm going to let my six year old self out every time I'm doing, seeing, feeling, thinking, smelling or hearing something that amazes me. I'm clinging to my childlike wonder, no matter how silly it seems, because that surge of awe and excitement feels good. It makes the journey worth it.

And I'm not too busy to enjoy the big, small and seemingly insignificant things. Not now. Hopefully not ever.


Jasmine Walt said...

The world is a beautiful place, isn't it? I agree we all need to stop and look around and appreciate the things around us more. I think we would all be happier if we did. :)

Tyson said...

I think so. It's all about how you look at things. And if you look at them. :)

Father Ambrose said...

A meteor shower on a clear star-filled night in the Scottish Highlands just before Christmas, crunching on the frozen grass to the bottom of the back garden, wrapped in blankets, to witness the spectacle. WOW!

Tyson said...

I'd love to witness that. :)