Wonder (again)

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.


Weekly Wonder, 8 Feb Edition

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. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

The short list of the thoughts, images, and words that opened my eyes a littler wider this week…

  1. Personal retreats of solitude.
  2.  Henri Nouwen’s book Life of the Beloved. On a whim, I took this with me on my retreat, and I ended up just living with these words for most of the time. His writing is simple, profound, and generous. God wants you to remember that, before, everything else, you are His beloved, His “good gift” to the world. “We were innocent before we started feeling guilty; we were in the light before we entered into darkness; we were at home before we started to search for a home. Deep in the recesses of our minds and hearts there lies hidden the treasure we seek.” Yeahhhhhhhhhh…. anyone else need to be reminded of that?
  3. Charles and Ray Eames (did anyone else not know they weren’t brothers, but a husband and wife?). I watched this documentary on the great American designers of the 20th century. Terrific insight into creativity and to “shipping.”
  4. Little hints that maybe just maybe, you’ve gotten one or two things right as a parent.
  5. Okay…. well, I’m still on my Britpop kick … I love songs that make me feel like just running down the street as fast as I can. “Mr. Brightside” is one of those, but I love, love this song by Stereophonics. (note: I can’t be responsible for any riots that start).  The other thing about this song is that, to my ears, it has 3 different choruses… who does that? 

Enjoy, and may you cultivate some wonder in your lives this week!

Weekly Wonder


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. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

The short list of things that opened my eyes a littler wider this week…

  • Psalm 46
  • Getting reacquainted with The Smiths. Every. Single. Song. Kills.
  • Relatedly, watching and listening to Noel Gallagher talking about the Smiths (warning NSFW language).
  • Javier Bardem. This man can act! Wow. Watched Biutiful. It’s exquisitely painful, but his acting is a masterpiece.
  • “Doing The Work.”
  • Two + hours of silence. No radio, no TV, no speaking.
  • Anticipating my personal silent retreat next week.
  • Getting to hear hopes and dreams from some good friends this week


What about you?


Weekly Wonder

Hey everyone! Today I’m starting a new weekly series, “Weekly Wonder.”

These are just random things—mostly short—that have captured my thoughts, heart and attention this week; things that are drawing me deeper into the heart of God, or inspiring me to work, or be a better leader/husband/father…

So let’s get started…

  • Thomas Merton. Wow. I’d waited until my Sabbatical to begin reading New Seeds of Contemplation, and all I can say is that this writing is so simple and profound, so laced with peace and grace that it makes me hungry for more of this in m life. Here’s something that just rocked me this morning:

Do not look for rest in any pleasure, because you were not created for pleasure: you were created for spiritual JOY. And if you don not know the difference between pleasure and spiritual joy you have not yet begun to live.

  • The Gospel of Mark. Okay I know it’s a Sunday-school answer, but as I journey through this Gospel with my community, I’m blown away again by Mark’s vision of Jesus. He is forceful, courageous, human and compassionate. If you haven’t spent time with a gospel lately, maybe give this one a try (p.s. I’m also using The Common English Bible translation for the first time, and I’m really enjoying this translation).
  • The Daily Office. I have always struggled with prayer, but praying the Daily Office has helped me give form and structure to my prayers, and also helped to center me.
  • Just this guy: Tom Petty.
  • My daughter choosing Jesus as her topic for her history fair project. The girl is a budding evangelist in her own unique way.

What has inspired you this week?