The past few weeks have felt stressful to me. Work has been incredibly busy, combined with kids who have been at each other's throats continuously and add in a relatively minor conflict in my church community and well...life has been chaotic to say the least. And for me, chaos typically means I feel stressed.
The kids and I ventured to Chicago this last week and for part of the weekend. It was a fun trip, even if too short to do all the things I would've liked to do. We went to the large aquarium in Chicago first thing Saturday morning. After a few hours of taking in all the sights and sounds and smells, we got a lemonade to share and sat together on a bench overlooking Lake Michigan. It was an awe-inspiring moment, one where you draw your breath in and then release it slowly. A moment where I realized yet again how amazing life is and how abundantly blessed I feel. And as young as my children are, they sat quietly staring at the lake, sipping lemonade, snuggled into me, one on each side. Their feet dangled over the side of the bench, and every few minutes one of them would speak...almost in a whisper. As if they might disrupt the moment being created around us. After a few minutes, we finished our lemonade and walked to the car. Rudy returned to his normal busy self - running ahead. The wonder I saw on their faces and in their voices won't soon leave me. I have to believe life is meant to be lived in such a state of wonder.
On the drive home, I was thinking aloud with God about why things seem to turn out the way they do. My community has been shaken up recently with what I would call a disruption of sorts. The leader of our community made public a decision of his. I'm fairly certain he had no idea what would ensue. When I first learned of his decision (which wasn't even an earth-shattering sort of decision in my opinion), I didn't see the tidal wave coming. When the wave knocked me over, I was still rather stunned by the developments that came quickly behind that initial wave. At some point, I commented to a friend that I keep thinking I am able to read people well, and then I find out differently...again. I never cease to be surprised by the rest of the human beings on earth with me.
And I suppose that's part of wonder, too. Sometimes I'm disappointed by others' actions. Other times, I am amazed and not just a little thrilled with them. Regardless, that sense of wonder that accompanies what I didn't know would come about is pretty awesome. I think that's why I enjoy being around children so much. They never cease to be amazed and awed by the world around them. Of course there are moments that frighten them or cause them upset...but that thrill at seeing a dolphin jump out of the water for the first time...or the simple joy of a first kiss...or the taste and texture of an ice cream cone on a hot day. There is so much in this life that is wonder-filled.
I sometimes wonder about the idea of heaven because of this. Is this world crazy and mixed up and violent and tragic? Absolutely. Is it at the same time beautiful and amazing and incredible and sweet? Yes, I think so. I can do without streets of gold, if I could hear my son giggle one more time. I don't need angels singing if I can hear my daughter tell me she loves me. The wonder of the world I live in is all around me.