Without mentioning any names, I have an acquaintance who plays drums in a pretty well-known and successful rock band. Around 2003/2004, as they were ascending the charts and their popularity was really taking off, they played a concert at the Hard Rock in Chicago, and he gave me a couple passes to the show, which was pretty much sold out. Afterwards, he met me and a buddy down in the lobby to just say, “Hi” and touch base (I hadn’t seen him in a couple years).
As I walked up to him, he just gushed with gratitude and thanks that I’d come, “Wow, it’s so awesome that you came out!”
As I congratulated him on the band’s success he continued to seem almost overwhelmed by everything that was going on, and continued to thank me for coming out to see the show.
Meanwhile, I kept thinking, “This guy is totally ‘living it,’ and just played a sold out show and he is grateful that I came… for free?!??!”
His wonder and gratitude of what was going on in his life was so childlike and innocent. It blew me away, and it continues to haunt me to today. When I think about how ungrateful I am for my “normal” life, I am convicted. When I refuse to see the wonder and beauty of my life… the moments in lifetimes—weddings, funerals, baptisms—I get to share, when I get to see people grow and become more like Christ, when I get to see people find their vocation and then embrace it… all of these things are miracles in and of themselves, yet I choose to overlook them for something else “out there”.
It’s a rejection of grace, in a way.
One of my favorite—and most convicting—quotes about wonder is from Abraham Joshua Heschel:
“Never once in my life did I ask God for success or wisdom or power or fame. I asked for wonder, and he gave it to me.”
Which comes first? The success or the wonder? I’m beginning to think that success follows wonder, rather than the other way around.