By Terri Fullerton
When I was ten, we lived in a house in the country in upstate New York. It was nestled between a soft hillside and a forest. A stream trickled down the gulley and curved around the front border of the property.
One snowy day I went for a walk, venturing into the woods alone. Leafless maple and birch trees guarded the entrance. Snow accumulated on their brittle gray branches. I trudged along, stopping often to take in the beauty. Pausing to gaze at a copse of evergreens, I inhaled the fragrance of Christmas as the snow landed softly on their boughs. The stream gurgled through icy edges. My eyes were drawn upward and I found myself captivated with wonder at His cathedral of trees.
Before I ever knew God, He was cupping my face and whispering in creation, I am here.
I often reflect on my walk that winter day, when God cultivated a longing in me that continues to deeply impact my faith journey. He used wonder to usher in a quieting presence. He awakened hope. He planted in my soul the belief that there could be something else, something more than the chaos happening in other areas of my life.
I think God misses our childlike delight in Him and what He has created. God orchestrated His great opus and children seem to hear it better than anyone. Wow! Look at the stars! What young ones seem to know intuitively is that wonder and delight demand a response.
Children are not intimidated or ashamed to twirl in the breeze or pick up turtles and peer into their little faces. Have you ever gone on a walk with a child? Everything is exciting—a pine cone, “helicopter” seeds from a maple tree, worms crossing a sidewalk, water flowing down the street after a hard rain. It just invites splashing. Look! Do you see this? Like God, they want to share the moment.
Four years ago we moved to west Texas. It was a difficult move. Our spiritual walk was sluggish at best. We vacillated between numbing distractions and parenting heartache. We decided to go camping in the Davis Mountains. I thought the mountains would offer a cool reprieve from the unrelenting heat. As it turned out, I was much mistaken. Do you know what is sparse in the desert? Trees for shade.
We hiked anyway, carrying plenty of water. We were in for a surprise. What the desert lacked in trees, it more than made up for when the sky grew dark. Millions of pinholes of light burst through its indigo canopy.
The first night, we drove to a hillside parking lot to stargaze. Others joined us in our chorus of Look! Look this way! Can you believe what we’re witnessing? A stranger asked if we had seen any meteors. It turned out we were there during a meteor shower.
The next day my husband bought tickets to the Star Party at the McDonald Observatory, home to some of the largest telescopes in the world. Eleven telescopes were open that evening. We saw Saturn and its rings, and stars so far away they had already died. It was mind-boggling. Doug and I lay down on stone benches next to one another and watched the emerald meteors zoom across the sky. We seemed suspended in time as we marveled at God’s magnificent works.
We were there until three a.m., but we weren’t tired; we were refreshed. God provided the nourishment we needed.
He beckons us to stop for a few minutes and enjoy the sunset, to stare at the gold and red hues of autumn leaves, to marvel at a newborn baby, to delight in the endless curiosity of children.
Allow God to fill you with wonder. Ask Him to surprise you with something that changes your posture from weighed down to looking up in anticipation. Being present in wonder, even momentarily during an ordinary day, feeds our souls.
Terri Fullerton is a wife, mother, empty nester, and perpetual dog owner. She enjoys writing, reading, photography, hiking, traveling and collecting fossils. She values reflective questions and a dry sense of humor. She blogs at terrifullerton.com.