By Ann Hostetler, professor of English
This week’s theme: Restore us, O God! We wonder.
All day long, children wonder . . . at least if they are healthy and fed and have room to explore. Where does the sun go at night? Can people live on clouds? Is God a man or a woman? What would happen if we shared our home with a refugee family? Where do the hummingbirds go in winter?
As adults, our sense of wonder is too often crowded out by worry. We want to provide food, clothing, shelter and answers to those young questioners. We have work and bills and deadlines. It’s hard to stop and wonder when there’s so much to do. Besides, wondering about what we can’t control makes us feel vulnerable.
And then the unthinkable happens. A teenaged girl is killed in a freak accident. An otherwise healthy man comes down with cancer and is gone within a year. The job we thought would see us through retirement evaporates. Our candidate doesn’t win. Our neighbors are deported. Or, we suddenly receive unexpected good news. Something we thought wasn’t possible for us suddenly opens up. We wonder.
God is constantly with us, inviting us to wonder. We cannot control many of the things that happen around us, but we can take charge of our own time and thoughts. We can make space for wonder in our lives. We can wonder how to express God’s love in each of these situations.
I claim many practices that invite wonder into my life － meditation, prayer, yoga, painting, and walking － but when I get rushed and worried, I tend to avoid them. It’s tempting to tap the worry beads on my iphone (icons or keyboard) instead of sitting with my discomfort and fears in a silent meditation, even though it takes less time. Yet if I do take ten minutes to sit in the quiet, it is not long before the warmth of divine love surrounds and sustains me. A commitment to a Lenten practice of quiet time can remind us that God’s wonder is always present.
In Wonderstruck, inspirational writer Margaret Feinberg says that her whole relationship with God changed when she began to pray for wonder instead of for answers. This year during lent, I invite you to pause every day for a short time to reconnect with wonder.