Dangerous Wonder

Do you remember the first time you experienced snow? Jumped in a puddle? Watched fireworks? Delighted in something new?  Fell in love?  Do you remember what it felt like… feels like… to wonder?

One of the hidden gifts of Covid for me has been the opportunity to slow down and recover the practice of wondering.  A snippet of an old Southern folk song floats through my mind: 

I wonder as I wander out under the sky…  

While Covid has limited my travel, there is a profound power to wondering and wandering in place.  In reconnecting with the land and the people I love, my wandering in place has me wondering about a lot things, most especially my call… our collective call… in this threshold time.

In another threshold time, Martin Luther King, Jr. named “our inescapable network of mutuality” prompting me to ask: Are we ready to nurture compassion toward a mutuality that honors diversity, demands equity, and nurtures inclusion?  Will we allow wonder to nurture moral imagination that we might embrace a new way of being, belonging and becoming, even as we acknowledge other forms of wonder that distract and distress.  

On this 20th anniversary month of 9-11, the terrible wonder and disbelief that planes could crash into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, a field in Pennsylvania. This past month, the seemingly overnight return of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan.  A pandemic still raging across the globe.  The tipping point (O God, may it be so!) of violence against people of color that we might finally know that we are all connected.  Either we flourish together in our interdependence as people and planet, or continue on a path to destruction.

Richard Rohr in The Naked Now believes that  “wondering” is a word connoting at least three things:

                        Standing in disbelief

                        Standing in the question itself

                        Standing in awe before something

Many stand in disbelief these days.  Others remained locked in questioning.  Ultimately, the danger of wondering is that it asks something of us.  To respond requires acknowledgement that while we are not in control, we do have agency to co-create a future that moves us beyond this present age of destruction.  It begins with standing in awe, reconnecting soul with Source, and wondering.

Are we ready to wonder about the future through the lens of our interdependence?  Can we conceive of flourishing apart from GDP?  Might dare to wonder, without immediate answer, about the pressing social and environmental issues in ways that do not seek to control or hold onto the past, but let go that the future might emerge?

This form of wondering is dangerous.  It requires a willingness to shift in perspective, even long held beliefs, that we might allow for the conditions that honor life, in all its wondrous forms, to emerge.  The practice of dangerous wonder  invites us to be attentive to people and place, and dwell in the questions, beyond easy answers.  Dangerous wonder suspends judgment in favor of exploring the inherent gift of life amidst contradiction and challenge.  Much depends upon our willingness to wonder.  

Will you join me in sharing your stories of wonder?

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