Way back in January I claimed a word for the year: wonder. I had gotten to a point last year where the cares of life were taking over and wanted to reclaim some sacred space in my heart and life for wonder. For the tiny miracles that go unnoticed till you look for them, for the plenteous sources of beauty that we rush by, for the quiet whisperings of heaven that rustle in the leaves of earth… for these my heart ached.
Not only is this a way to fill my life with beauty even when circumstances are difficult, but it is also one of my primary practices for worshiping God. I use wonder and delight as vehicles to thankfulness to God for providing such a myriad of treasures for us to enjoy, and this in turn focuses into a deeper appreciation of His character and love. One of the reasons I felt so isolated and divorced from life towards the end of last year was because this lifeline was broken as I reeled in the circumstances of life and couldn’t find firm footing in worship.
In our sermon at church last Sunday, our pastor talked about how our doxology fuels the way we walk through life and subsequently informs what we work and live for. He defined doxology as “your opinion of the splendor and glory of God.” And as our view of His splendor gets bigger, it creates more space to view His goodness and grace in our lives and in the world.
This is what I was after more of this year… this is what I was craving. Now many people enhance their wonder by “going big” – seeing panoramic landscapes, open skies, big adventures that take one for a whirlwind and leave you dizzy. However, I am drawn to finding wonder and the splendor of God in the small. It’s in the tiny details, the ones you just walk right over, the small treasures that sprout out of the dirt and you have to get on your knees to see – these are where my heart finds peace and where I can connect with my God and Savior. And so it’s no surprise to find that one of the easiest transports to wonder are wildflowers.
This spring I was able to visit my beloved Spring Mill State Park and enjoy many hours hiking in the newly sprouted forests soaking up the greeness of rebirth. I rejuvenate and rest in the forests and find comfort there. It is a place of constancy as trees that have been sentinels for hundreds of years stretch their branches to the sky and dig their roots deep into the earth. And at the same time it is transient – wildflowers bloom and are gone, only to be replaced by others as the season lengthens; butterflies and insects flit through and then disappear; leaves throw off green robes for scarlet and orange hues that fade into brown and wither; winter snow piles up then melts into rivers.
It’s that interface between constancy and change where you find life. The woods were full of sparkling wildflowers, like jewels hidden in seas of green leaves and it was a delight to find them out and marvel at them. My favorites are trillium and I have to remind myself that it’s not necessary to take photos of every single one …. wait, or is it? The most exciting moment of the weekend walks was when my mom and I trekked to a place last year that was filled with yellow woodland poppies and we wanted to see if they were blooming again. We did find a few, but this time they were interspersed with vast swaths of delicate blue blooms that covered the ground as far back into the forest as we could see. It was utterly entrancing to see how the same place could look so different from last year – and it was so beautiful.
I returned from the forests with my heart overflowing. I hope your hearts are filled with wonder and joy this weekend.
Blessings to you,