As one year ends and another begins, it can be a good time to pause, look back and reflect as well as look forward in hope. In my ponderings, I’ve been drawn to the theme of ‘wondering’. One definition of ‘wonder’ includes; a feeling of amazement and admiration, caused by something beautiful, remarkable or unfamiliar. What has made you ‘wonder’ over the last year?
Over Christmas, I was able to bubble with my nieces (the youngest are 2 and 3) and marvelled at how instinctively wonder overflows in their world. Their first taste of Christmas cake, the first time they saw snow, using glitter for the first time (which may have been a mistake but they enjoyed it!).
As we grow older, perhaps because there are fewer ‘firsts’, or because of the pressures of life or because we allow cynicism to creep in, the wonder of childhood can easily dissipate. In order to counter this, one of the approaches I have found helpful in my mindfulness practice has been the practice of beginner’s mind; learning to approach life and faith with more curiosity. It involves learning to let go of fixed expectations, the egos desire for certainty (or at least perceived certainty) and the need to ‘be right’.
Of course, in our ever-changing world which feels more precarious than ever before, a desire for black and white answers and certainty is understandable. It also doesn’t mean we deny, ignore or supress our heartaches, sufferings and grief, or that of others. But as we lament, take appropriate action and weep with those who weep, we can still be open to the place of mystery and wonder. So this new year, I challenge myself again to turn my ‘I knows’ in to ‘I wonder’. I wonder what new things I will learn about myself this time around in lockdown? I wonder what new conversations I will have? I wonder what new walks I will discover? I wonder…… And perhaps, more than ever before, I will learn to be more open to being surprised along the way.
This was written by Rev Caroline Ryder, a trained counsellor and Team Leader at Touchstone project in Bradford.