Living Amazed

If there has been one thing that keeps coming back to me this summer, it’s a small internal voice saying, “Are you seeing it? This amazing moment?” I am consciously, each year more and more, trying to slow down enough to create space to just watch the wonder around me. I complain often that my memory is poor. I can’t retain details (addresses, timing, to do lists) and I panic that something is wrong with me to cause this stutter step in my wiring. I take pictures constantly on my camera and phone. Hoping to “capture” what I might someday forget. But with perspective I have realized that it might just be less about my brain’s capacity and more about information overload. There is just too much stuff. Too much to remember. I jam my mind with to-do lists, appointments, kid commitments, and errands. I feel laser focused most times on the little things that keep my families lives on track. I think I have finally realized that in forcing myself to get all the small stuff pitch perfect, the really big simple wondrous things get forced out or overlooked.

I recently posted a quote to Instagram that really resonated with me. It felt like one small step in the right direction on the “finding wonder” front. It was about changing the vernacular on how we address the slower choice. Offering “thanks” instead of always dealing in “sorry”. So sorry we couldn’t make the party. So sorry I am five minutes late. So sorry I couldn’t chair that bake sale at school. Instead the emotion becomes thanks to the person you interacted with on the request. Saying to someone “Thanks for being patient with my five minute delay. I chose to walk instead of taking the elevator.” Or “Thank you for asking me to lead that bake sale. It means so much that you thought of me but I just don’t have the capacity right now.” It’s a subtle change that leaves the asker feeling affirmed and the asked feeling guilt free, unburdened by a day full of saying sorry. I’m hoping that as I slow down, look less at the list, and look deeper for the wonder I will be more often amazed by the beauty and joy around me.

Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement . . .
to get up in the morning and look at the world
in a way that takes nothing for granted.

Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible.
Never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.

~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

When this beautiful quote came across my feed by way of the blog The First Sip, I was stunned by it’s simplicity. Last week I was spending time with family up North on the coast of Maine. The sunsets there are achingly beautiful. And the time is simple. Hikes, lots of porch time – and I find myself looking at my children often in silence. Just watching what it means to live in amazement. The joy of a really good scoop of ice cream. The wonder of finding a massive jellyfish on the sand. The excitement of creeping around a dark house while playing “Sardines”. The last night we played together. And as I crept around our house with two terrified children glued to each side of me, I laughed out loud in pure joy (and a hint of nervousness I must admit as someone who remains to this day scared of the dark.) The last day of our trip I hiked to yet another breathtaking mountaintop and I was amazed.

* And one last note – we had ice cream and hiking, but lest you think my family vacation was more picture perfect than yours – we had chaos and messes, and tired kids, and cranky parents too. 😉

Comments

  1. Selina Strong says:

    Thank you for your beautiful honesty. I love the perspective of being amazed and appreciating small wonders. I need this in my life today. I send you love and hugs always from my heart.

  2. Sara Cusimano says:

    This is so incredibly on point. Thank you Lin. Love this!

  3. Courtenay says:

    Yes, and yes. Can we hold onto it into September????

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