The Wonder of Being

There’s something truly remarkable about it.  I find myself watching for a few minutes each morning.  I open the blinds to the window in my study and look out to the yard and find six or eight squirrels scurry about as a sun comes over the horizon.

It’s not that I’m exactly a squirrel lover.  I wouldn’t want anyone to get me little trinkets with squirrels on them — even if you think I’m a bit squirrely.  Squirrels are rodents.  They are just “better dressed” than rats.  Yet, I’m still captivated.

The squirrels run about, checking hiding places for food or putting food in hiding places — I can never exactly tell which it is.  They chase each other on the ground, running up sides of trees, jumping from tree to tree, and have boundless energy.  They are able to perch in trees on branches that sway while appearing to remain perfectly balanced.  They are amazing to watch and, yes, awe-inspiring.

Many people find themselves drawn to the words of Psalm 139.  That’s the one which begins, “You search, God, and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I stand.”  The writer of the psalm conveys a wonderful sense of intimacy with God.

Verse 14 of this psalm makes a profound statement:  “I thank you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are all your works!”

Many of us find great beauty and amazement in the world around us, from budding flowers to vast expanses of mountains and valleys.  Watching the rising sun or the twinkling stars in the night sky draws us to a sense of wonder.  Simply having time outdoors to hike or to jog, feeling the warmth of the sun and the coolness of the breeze often make us feel more alive.  We are often inspired by the beauty of nature and find some aspects of nature to be touchstones for the spiritual dimension of life.

It seems to me that we rarely consider how awe-inspiring we are as human beings.  While we often find wonder and beauty in nature, when it comes to ourselves, we focus on our limitations.  Yes, we’re too fat or too thin, too tall or too short, our noses are too big and our hair too unmanageable…and the list goes on and on.  The truth about us is this: we are wonderfully made.

Something we don’t consider is that to be the person we are requires that we not be something else.  No, that’s not a cryptic Zen Buddhist koan.  Instead, it’s a statement about recognizing who we are.  Because I am 5’7” feet tall, then I can’t be 6’3” tall.  Because I have hazel eyes means that I don’t have brown eyes.  Because I’m a devoted spouse who values home life means that I’m not out every night for a party.  The person we are requires that we not be something else.  Who we are, skills, talents, and abilities, creates limits from being something or someone else.

It’s within the limitations of who we are that we are able to grow, develop, and excel.  For reasons I don’t really know, I seem to have a natural ability to think of “big picture” concepts and theories, to look at inter-relationships in systems, and to imagine certain kinds of possibilities.  At the same time, the way I think means that I have trouble with lots of details.  On the other hand, I work closely with a colleague whose is great with details and can identify, list, and quantify minute pieces of each process.  Because we work closely together, we sometimes are frustrated with each other because what comes naturally to us is so different.  But the abilities complement each other and together we’re able to do some pretty nifty stuff!  If we weren’t the people we are, if we tried to be people we weren’t, we wouldn’t accomplish the work we do or find meaning in what’s fulfilling to us.

“I thank you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made!  Wonderful are your works!”  Me included!

It’s difficult for most people to embrace the wonder of who they are as individuals.  It’s much easier to watch squirrels and be amazed.  But if those fancy-dressed rats who play in my yard can be awe-inspiring, why not you and me?  We may not be able to do everything, but we are each uniquely gifted to do and to be something that brings life to the world.


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© 2018, emerging by Lou Kavar, Ph.D.. All rights reserved.

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