Fireworks are popping outside of my window. Someone probably waited until today to get them 50% off, after the long weekend. They're smart people; fireworks are kind of expensive. But they're always worth it in my books. They do something inside of me when I watch them go off -- all sparkly and crackly and noisy and bright.
I am transformed into a five-year-old girl again, the same way I was transformed at Magic Kingdom last summer. I was stunned by everything I saw there, feeling fearless and small and entirely unstoppable. Don't you find that you only have glimpses of feeling that way? Of feeling that wonder? I want to hold onto it tightly before it slips through my fingers. Too often it seems as though the world crushes our wonder before we even realize our wonder was taking place. Or maybe it's not the world who crushes it. Maybe it's just me.
I can pinpoint times when I have felt wonder in this way -- the admiration, fascination, marvel, I'm-on-top-of-the-world sort of way: my first airplane ride to Rwanda, sitting on the top of Machu Picchu, standing under the stars, staring at the sea, watching the fireworks pop and loop higher and higher. I wish I could articulate more poetically, or at least more accurately, how I have felt in these times. All I can say is that in each occurrence my chest felt like it was filled with light, and that is when I know I am experiencing wonder.
Last night I sat on my blue lawn chair in my old hometown watching the fireworks go, and my chest filled with light again. I was thinking a lot of things: I was thinking how grateful I am that Jesus created emotions that can literally feel colourful and bright and beautiful. I was thinking how I wish I felt wonder more often. I was thinking how it seems as though every time I have felt wonder, it's because I have chosen gratitude.
So now I'm wondering if those two just might be connected. Does having gratitude mean having more wonder?
There have been too many times where God has given me opportunities and I have gone into them with a closed and ungrateful heart. I haven't felt wonder; I've felt bitterness and disappointment and possibly a sprinkle of resentment. None of those emotions reap anything kind or lovely.
I realized this today, while brushing my teeth. I thought: everything is better when I go in with a grateful heart. Everything changes when I alter my mindset from "I have to do this" to "I get to do this".
The fireworks are still flying outside my breezy, open window, and I can't help but think that all I want is to keeping finding the wonder around me. But wonder doesn't just come from airplane rides to gorgeous places, or standing on mountaintops, or sitting in a blue lawn chair in your old hometown watching the fireworks fly.
Wonder comes from a place of gratitude, from thinking this life is a gift and not a burden. Tonight I step back and survey all God has given me -- this great, great life -- and as I take a deep breath the light is filling my chest again.
And this time the wonder isn't just from the fireworks.