Radical Wonder

Awareness of the divine begins with wonder.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

I sit in a café and watch a little girl play with her toys.

‘Wow!’  Her voice is filled with wonder. She’s focused, she’s smiling, and her eyes are filled with amazement.

When was the last time you felt like that? Children have a well-developed sense of wonder. They think everything is amazing. They think everything is wow!

During seven months of travel this year, I had some wow moments. I stood on top of mountains in Norway. I ‘wowed’ over glaciers, sculptures, paintings, and exquisite food. I climbed Kilimanjaro and watched the sun rise below me.

But, when I’m in the groove of routine and ordinariness, it’s easy to overlook wonder.

When I treat life casually, wonder is diminished.

I want to live in radical wonder. I want to be filled with the sublime wonder of living. I never want to become so jaded or cynical or bored that I’m not amazed anymore.

I want to live a life where to be spiritual is to be amazed. I want to live a life where I believe in the wonder of the divine.

Where does this sense of wonder come from?

Perhaps it’s gratitude, perhaps it’s in following our creativity, perhaps it’s in intentionally following our curiosity. Perhaps it’s remembering to look closer, to take time, to be mindful.

Moments of wonder are right in front of me every day. Radical wonder is a whole other level. Radical wonder means treating everyday things with a sense of adventure, delight, and freshness.

Every school holidays I’d tell my kids, ‘We’re going on an adventure.’ It might be to a local waterfall, or a drive up the coast, or a surprise visit to a friend, but I’d call it an adventure. Sometimes they’d look at me as if I was crazy, but I’d say, ‘Wow!’ at everything even remotely interesting.

Then they’d start to ‘wow!’ along with me. I tried to teach my children that the ordinary, the beautiful, the profound, are all opportunities for radical wonder.

At Christmas, we ponder the light that entered the world in the form of a baby. This story never gets old. This story fills me with radical wonder.


Happy Christmas and love,

Elaine xxx

Radical Wonder





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  1. Pat McCarthy
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Hi dearest Elaine. It was my birthday yesterday & loving friends & family sent me messages via various media
    One concept took shape as I reflected on these greetings & it was that of’ wonder ‘ & the word ‘ wonderful ‘
    It floated through my mind as the day progressed & I determined to reflect more on the reality & Gift of Wonder
    I opened my email page & what did I find ? Your reflection on ‘ Wonder ‘ A wonderful synchronicity…a birthday gift !
    Today, unlike most people who are busy preparing for Monday, I have to stay quietly at home awaiting the Vinnies truck to take away my excess furniture. I am intentionally downsizing !
    I have a writing task ahead in 2018 so delighted to ready myself in this season of the most wondrous of all gifts…the love of God incarnate in humanity through the surrender of Mary & the coming of Jesus
    Much love to you dearest Elaine

    • Posted December 30, 2017 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      Dear Pat,

      I’m so glad you had a lovely birthday. Downsizing is a very freeing exercise. We’ve been giving away a lot of things. I felt God say I had to make space for the new. So, I’m finishing lots of projects and getting rid of stuff to make way for the unknown.

      Thank you for the beautiful feedback about the post. God speaks to us in themes and I shouldn’t be surprised that you felt the synchronicity of the idea of wonder.

      I’m caring for my aunt at the moment. She broke her hip and has a long haul of recovery ahead of her.

      Once she’s settled, I’d love to chat more about your writing project. I’m intrigued! Lots of love to you and praying you have a wonderful New Year. xxx

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