Beautiful sunsets, a calming moon, an intense storm–these are all things that make you stop and stare. Everyone gets reflective and “spiritual” in times like these. It’s something that all humans have in common. But these marvels of nature are so rare in our busy days and weeks. Where is the moments of peace and wonder in the chaos of ordinary life?
It’s so hard to stop the momentum of life and to just look around. But let’s try together.
Stop and think about where you are right now.
I don’t mean where you physically are right now or something bigger like where are you in your life right now.
You are reading this.
This seems to be a trivial statement, but let’s take a closer look.
- You can read. Somebody spent hours out of their life when you were young to teach you how to read and write. (I’ve talked with student teachers about what they do. It’s a lot harder than you think.)
- Your eyes work. They let in light, which hits your optic nerves. Those nerves then send a signal to your brain. It then turns into an image that you interact with and react to. (It’s super complicated; there’s something about inverting, angles, cones, and lenses. I can never keep it straight.)
- You are awake. Your body functions with the ability to recuperate from a day filled with hard activities by sleeping. (Watching Netflix is hard! Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise!)
- Technology! There is a device in front of you that is literally from science-fiction novels. It has the storage capacity that our grandparents’ generation never even dreamed of having, let alone in the palm of their hands. (Or wrist, now. Father Mike can’t help but show off his wearable tech.)
- Technology!! This device connects to an unseen web of information that has exponentially multiplied the written history of the human race in a few years. The internet can connect people from anywhere on the globe with any information that is put there. (It has a surprisingly high amount of similarities with a spider-web, actually. Once something is on the web, it’s pretty much stuck there.)
- Technology!!! This device also connects with satellites that are orbiting the earth. They are in such a precise orbit that if they were any further away, they would be lost in space. If they were any closer, they would be destroyed by the atmosphere. (Go watch a great space film to see what I’m talking about! 2001: A Space Odyssey, Gravity, The Martian, Interstellar, etc.)
All of this from four words: “You Are Reading This” (I could keep going, but I don’t think you want to be here all month).
When was the last time that you thought about how all of these things in your life are possible? How often do we take all these things for granted? All too often for me, and I can see from our culture that I’m not the only one.
This is a problem. But how can we solve it?
It’s going to be difficult to do something that our culture has left behind. With practice, patience and diligence, however; a habit can be formed. Here are some ways to form this habit:
1) Stop – Take a step back from the busyness of your day. Spend some time being still.
2) Notice – Observe what’s around you. Notice even the smallest of things.
3) Reflect – Ask yourself how the things you notice work and how they came to be.
My hope is that these lead you to something that is lost in our modern society:
4) Wonder – Fill yourself with awe at these realizations.
This will destroy ungratefulness like Luke Skywalker destroyed the Death Star (Boom! Right into a million pieces.)! Seriously, once you find wonder, you realize all that you should be grateful for. There’s one more thing to do, though:
5) Thank the Father
Finding wonder means that we can give God praise and glory in a way that is different than anything else and extraordinarily beautiful! While you stop, notice, reflect, and wonder; invite God to be present with you in that moment and give it to Him as a prayer. Thank Him for making all of this possible, and for allowing you to be present to witness it. I started to begin all of my prayers this way; to thank the Father for things that I take for granted:
- I woke up this morning (or afternoon… that’s not important!).
- I can walk.
- I have clean air to fill my lungs.
- I have a family that loves me (I should probably call my mom…).
- I can read my bible in safety.
- I was created from a single microscopic cell.
- Jesus died for me, in order to take away my sins.
- I have an intimate relationship with that same Jesus, who is God in the flesh.
It’s changed my prayer life for the better and I pray that it will for you too.
Let me know what you’re grateful for, what you realized while wondering, how the space film was, or if you need to call your mom!
Have a wonder-ful week!