One of the most terrible losses man suffers in his lifetime is not noticed by most people, much less mourned. Which is astonishing because what we lose is in many ways one of the essential qualities that sets us apart from other creatures. I’m talking about the loss of the sense of wonder that is such an integral part of our world when we are children. However as we grow older, that sense of wonder shrinks from cosmic to microscopic by the time we are adults. Kids say “Wow!” all the time. Opening their mouths fully, their eyes light up with genuine awe and glee. The word emanates not so much from a voice box as from an astonished soul that has once again been shown that their world is full of amazing unexpected things. When was the last time you let fly a loud, truly heartfelt “WOW”? Not recently, I bet. Because generally speaking wonder belongs to kids, with the rare exception of falling madly in love with another person, which invariably leads to a rebirth of wonder. As adults, we are not supposed to say or feel Wow, or wonder, or even true surprise because those things make us sound goofy, ingenuous, and childish. How can you run the world if you are in constant awe of it? Of course there are exceptions. One need only look at the astounding success of Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and the novels of Neil Gaiman (the list is much longer, thank god), to see that people really are hungry for wonder. Still, most adults wouldn’t fess up to that hunger because they don’t want to admit how gorgeous it feels to sit transfixed in a movie theater or reading chair, thoroughly absorbed in a world ten times more interesting and vibrant than their own. The human heart has a long memory though and remembers what it was like to live through days when it was constantly surprised or enthralled by the world around it. Unfortunately we have been taught control, control, control all our lives by parents, society, and our education. If you can’t control something, then get rid of it or get out of it or get away from it. Yet we know that both the heart and the imagination really are most alive when they are *not* in control of things, flying through the air without a safety net below to catch them. To live immersed in wonder means both the unknown and the thrilling surround you, as in a great love affair.
Originally published here: https://medium.com/@JSCarroll/960e37cfbd20?source=tw-lo_4643e65e7be2-1406285050621