We all need the beautiful, remarkable, and unfamiliar in our lives
Life has a tendency to pull us down into the ordinary and mundane.
The electricity bill. Changing a nappy. Cooking dinner. Washing clothes. Putting the bins out. Mowing the lawn. Getting petrol. Buying food. Cleaning the house. Taking the kids to their various activities.
You get the idea: the chores never stop.
There is no escaping this reality of course. These things are all part of life. It doesn’t matter what else is happening in life, these duties and errands will always be demanding our time and attention.
The challenge is avoiding the feeling that these things are our life.
This is something I’ve struggled with this year. As regular readers will know, my wife, Rachel, has had post-viral fatigue since Christmas. She’s well on the road to recovery now, but for most of the year it’s been me taking most of the responsibility for our girls and our home.
As well as this, there was no opportunity for downtime. It has been non-stop. I feel like I’ve been on an endless treadmill. My life became consumed by the ordinary and the mundane.
I lost sight to anything more to life. It was all about the here and now. Though it was in part an inevitability, it isn’t sustainable to live life in a healthy way like that. I didn’t reach anything close to what you would call depression, but I definitely had many days when I felt incredibly low.
I’ve talked previously about the need for rest as part of breaking the power of life’s hold over us when it’s like this. But I’m learning too that wonder has the same effect.
Wonder, according to the Oxford Dictionary of English is: a feeling of amazement and admiration, caused by something beautiful, remarkable, or unfamiliar.
If I was to ask you to tell me what from your week has been beautiful, remarkable, or unfamiliar, how would you respond? What’s amazed you this week or stirred your admiration? If you’re anything like me, you may struggle to have anything to say. Certainly the list of chores I mentioned at the start don’t classify as beautiful, remarkable, or unfamiliar!
The thing about wonder is that though it may sometimes come at us unawares, most of the time we have to pursue it. Or choose to have our eyes open so that we don’t miss it when it comes on by.
Wonder has the ability to breathe new life into us when life feels all-consuming. It draws our attention away from the here and now and elevates our heart and mind to a better, healthier place. It reminds us that there is more to life.
Of course, what may be wonder-full for me may not have the same effect on you. But whether it be art, nature, literature, film, sport, food, people, or whatever, we all need to seek out the beautiful, remarkable, and unfamiliar.
Wonder is something we have to actively pursue. We have to recognise our need for it and choose to seek it out for our lives. Our lives won’t become full of wonder by chance. We have to crave it.
Here’s to craving wonder.
Image: Lee Key