Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Wonder of Wonder

Afraid that our inner light will be extinguished or our inner darkness exposed, we hide our true identities from each other.—Parker J. Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness

"Wonder" may not be what Palmer had in mind when he wrote about our inner light being extinguished, but I think there's a lot of stuff wrapped up in that package—faith, awe, mystery, wonder. They're all elements of our inner light, the light we're afraid to show to others for fear of it being extinguished. It's a wonder any of us have even a shred of wonder left.

Having a childlike sense of wonder sounds like a positive attribute, and it is. It's an attribute that I can finally own and expose and cultivate. But back when I cared a whole lot more about what others thought of me, I let lots of people rob me of that sense of wonder. They felt threatened by it, I now think. It was hip to be cynical; carrying around a sense of wonder opened you up to accusations of being an intellectual lightweight—ironic, of course, because wonder fuels intellectual curiosity.

I'm now fiercely and tenaciously protective of my childlike sense of wonder—because holding on to a sense of wonder is a wonder in itself.

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