Wonder and Surprise

My 16 month old grandson has gone home now. I enjoyed our time together even though he is teething and not feeling like napping or being overly playful.

Perhaps it is the particular privilege and perspective of grandparents but I find something wondrous about him.

The big event of the day was turning the light switches on and off. I might tire of it after 20 minutes or so and pull us away to do something else. But soon he would enthusiastically make the sign language sign for “more” and point to the switches and away we would go again. Hours of fun!

Actually more than fun, for with each flip of a switch he would quickly look toward the ceiling to see if light had come. If it had he would squeal with delight and then scan the rest of the terrain to see if something might be about to happen there as well.

Even though my back grew weary from holding him up to the switches my spirit was refreshed.

I think it has something to do with Cameron’s sense of wonder and surprise. In a few years, he will learn about electricity and all of that and, I suspect, this initial time of delight will fade with the explanation. I do not covet for him a magical world but I do hope he and I are able to retain that basic orientation of wonder and surprise that so characterizes him now. For together they form the perfect antidote to both a sense of entitlement and to despair which occasionally lean upon my spirit.

Entitlement cannot long stand in the presence of wonder because wonder presupposes gift given beyond the control of the receiver. And despair cannot resist wonder and surprise because surprise, at least in the Christian sense, assumes a God who may move, at any moment, to create an opening, a possibility, a portal through which the light of grace might break through.

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