By Ian Percy
I was reminded recently that all children have this readiness to wonder no matter how poor and destitute. I was raised on the edge of the Sahara Desert where my parents were missionaries.
This past Christmas I had their 50-year-old 8mm missionary movies transferred to video for them. In one scene they were giving out T-shirts and shorts to the native kids in a leprosy village who had never seen, never mind owned, anything so wonderful. They had the same look. The look that says, “What do these wonders-mean?”
This is the heart of life – coming to understand what the wonders of our existence – and of our work – mean. All that is possible is wrapped up in the divine gift of imagination which is why it is, at once, the most freeing and imprisoning force known to us – depending, of course, on how we use it.
The world, our own unique personal world, is full of wonders, each of which is connected to our richly imagined future. Very few people see wonders in their workplace. That is a little strange and a lot sad because we can see them elsewhere in our lives.
An executive who appears so uncaring and tough at work actually managed to attend his daughter’s grade four play, “The Legend of Johnny Appleseed.” Melissa was Mrs. Johnny Appleseed in the play and she insisted that her dad and mom sit in the second row (the first one being “Reserved”) right near the center aisle.
They could see her white bonnet as she peered through the curtains to be sure they were still there and ready for the wonders they were about to see. And wonders there were! It went the way grade four plays are supposed to go with kids forgetting their lines or not saying them loud enough or saying them too loud.
The teacher’s constant prompts from backstage, the miscued curtains. Each one a wonder. And then the wonder of all wonders – Melissa’s only line rehearsed a thousand times at dinner, in the bathtub and the last thing before sleep. “Oh my dear husband (that part always made the other kids laugh and it did this time too) do not be discouraged, for people around the world will eat from the orchards you have planted.”
I do not even want to meet the parent whose eyes are not filled with tears of wonder in such a situation. Heck, mine are and I’m just making this up. Work is one of the wonders of our lives!
When we can’t see the wonders, we are doomed to meander through life without ever finding our intention. When we can’t see the wonders we can’t make the choices that will lead us to the spiritual wealth that most of us desire.
First we must learn to see the wonders and then we learn to make positive and wise choices in response to those wonders. This is how the richly imagined future becomes present in our lives now.
There are wonders all around us, in every common circumstance. The more we recognize them, the richer we become. May your life – and your work – be wonders-full!