Every time one of the grandchildren walks through the garden I snip a tiny piece of a rosemary stem off for them to carry…so the “wonder”ful aroma stays with them throughout the garden. (It is as if they forget each time and marvel over the smell again and again!)
I do this because I want them to know that gardens contains all five senses within it….the sight of it…the sound of the water from the fountain and the chimes tinkling in the breeze, the smell of the rosemary, the touch of the different textures of trees, bushes, and plants, and the taste of calm and serenity that the garden brings…quite palatable to our entire body of senses.
To have five senses (given each of us) is a thing of wonder and awe… a wonderful thing…but have we all forgotten that modern language has taken the “wonder” out of “wonderful?”
Merriam-Webster has an interesting perspective on the ‘watering down’ of the word “wonderful” in the following passage: “How Wonderful Lost its Sense of Wonder.”
…The word’s original meaning seems to be hiding in plain sight: “full of wonder.” Yet it is very seldom used in that way anymore; today wonderful is most frequently used to mean “extremely good” (as in “a wonderful meal”).
Noah Webster only presented one sense of wonderful in his 1828 dictionary:
WONDERFUL, adjective Adapted to excite wonder or admiration; exciting surprise; strange; astonishing. Job 42:3.
It’s clear that wonderful in this Old Testament passage means “astonishing” and not “extremely good”:
Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.
As late as 1899, it was probably clear that readers of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz were meant to feel more awe than admiration for the title character—a point that may be surprising to us today.
* The word wondrous by contrast, has drifted very little from its original meaning over the centuries. Will wonders never cease?
I plead guilty to using “wonderful” too much in my writings…I am definitely a perpetrator in this over-indulgence of the watered-down version of the word. So when I saw an article on this exact topic…I read it and wanted to share it with you…because it made me feel happy and… well… full of wonder! But first….the Boo Easter Bunny is busy filling baskets.
*Filling Easter baskets makes me happy knowing the grandchildren’s eyes will be filled with wonder.…SH! Top secret! Here are the four oldest grandchildrens’ baskets ready….Eloise’s is a little different with some special baby items-just some “little peep” things…sorry no chocolate this year Eloise!
“What Happens When We Wonder?”
When I think about wonder I think about waterfalls, newborn babies, and whales. I think about seeds, snowflakes, and rainbows. I think about lightening, skyscrapers, and silk. Wonder defies description. Wonder often leaves me speechless. Wonder does not happen every day.
What happens when we experience wonder?
People get along. When people are struck with wonder, they generally are not yelling, arguing, fighting, or angry. Wonder brings people together. We all agree that flowers are wonderful. We all agree that ducklings are wonderful. We all agree that coral reefs are wonderful. Butterflies? Wonderful. Chocolate? Wonderful. Sunsets? Wonderful. Wonder provides a moment where we can hold hands, (perhaps) tear up, and find common ground.
The noise of life fades. A silence akin to speechlessness falls when we experience wonder. A gentle hush that is beyond words eases tension. Reflection paints wonderful moments with reverence. Wonder is calm in the chaos of the world. I learned this on the road to Hana in Maui, when I had to be reminded that my iPhone was not as important as the majesty of a volcano. I had to let the noise go and be present to the wonder of the moment.
The best parts of ourselves guide our thoughts and actions. Gratitude, compassion, and understanding happen during wonderful moments. Our interconnectedness, our stories, our dreams, our histories connect us when we allow ourselves to feel wonder: to really see, to really touch, to really taste, and to really hear. Creating and being present to moments of wonder in our lives builds our best selves. We have less time to be less than our potential when we experience wonder. Our sights are set higher.
We are connected to the natural world. Nature is wonder. Glaciers. Fjords. Mangroves. Mountains. Coral Reefs. Oceans. All animals. All plants. All stars and planets and galaxies. There is wonder when we see beauty in all of that, and feel related and interdependent and grateful. Appreciating and respecting the wonder of the natural world creates an environment of protection and stewardship in which future generations will also know wonder in nature.
Miracles can happen. Wonder makes me believe in miracles. Every day is a miracle. The sun rising. My heart beating. My breath flowing in and out of my lungs. The fact that all that happens with perfection is miraculous. Let me take it a step further. Our capacity to experience awe, for our jaws to drop and for time to stand still, is a miracle. Feeling wonder, and the joy and happiness of it, is a miracle. May we know more, and more, and more wonder.
So until tomorrow…May the wonder of this week, Holy Week, fill us with awe, again and again, that one man could love us the way Jesus loved and continues to love us…giving the ultimate sacrifice, His life, for us…so we, too, can have everlasting life. How wondrous is that?
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh
And look at this wonder Anne sent me in this picture. She planted more daffodil bulbs this past fall and waited excitedly for the daffodils to appear…nothing…the green shoots came up…looking healthy and strong…but no daffodils. And then suddenly two days ago something caught her eye…is it possible…this late? Are they going to bloom…hope is in the air again. Such wonder!