I will always remember when I went to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota on a mission trip. South Dakota is a vast land with miles and miles of nothingness and right in the middle of that nothingness is the Indian Reservation. My favorite part of the trip was at night we would lay on the ground in a field and just look up at the stars. It was amazing! There I saw more shooting stars than I have ever seen and because the reservation is out in the middle of nowhere the stars are not over powered by the artificial light of civilization. It was amazing. Someone on the trip thought it would be nice if we had worship every day, I said star gazing was worship enough for me.
I will never forget when we went on vacation to the Grand Canyon. When I first stepped out onto the rim tears rolled down my eyes. I was awe-struck. It was amazing.
And then, one early spring day when the cold, dark winter was lingering as I was driving home, I spotted a flock of blue birds! I got so excited I jumped out of my car to take a picture but soon realized they were not going to stay still for a picture. I put my phone away and just stood there with a big smile on my face watching the blue birds flit about. What a beautiful site!!
These days I am awestruck by staring at the face of my beautiful baby granddaughter!
I was reading a passage from the book Mindful Woman by Sue Patton Theole. She tells a story of a friend of hers who had just come back from Hawaii, the friend says, “omigosh it was beautiful! My awe-o-meter was off the charts while I was there”
Awe-o-meter. I loved that expression. You know a meter that measures our awe. How’s yours doing? What’s it reading? High…Low or somewhere in between?
I had a moment last week when I was feeling grouchy and irritated and I said to myself….Linda look around life is a gift….take it in…don’t take it for granted. I sure wish I had an awe o meter to remind me to live in awe!
God creates the world and each step of the way claims it as good and then at the end when God sees the whole of what was created claims it as VERY GOOD. God said Let there be light and saw it was good…God called the dry lands earth, and the waters Seas and God saw it was good. Then the earth is brought forth with vegetation plants and trees of every kind and God saw that it was good. Then God created creatures of every kind and God saw it was good. Then humankind….and at the end when God looks around and sees everything God made…indeed it was VERY GOOD.
The world was created for awe. What a miracle all of creation is and every human face. Yet somehow we become so used to it we forget how good it really is!
The word awe if you look it up in the dictionary is related to words like wonder and reverence and the opposite of awe brings up words like weariness, tiredness, joylessness and dispiritedness. I found that helpful and so insightful. It would seem that the more exhausted we allow ourselves to become the less we will experience awe. AND awe is connected to Spirit…our connection to God. When we lack awe we become dispirited.
Yet, we can get so busy with the doing in our lives that we exhaust ourselves and become too weary to connect with God and open ourselves to awe. That’s rather sad isn’t it?
I can almost hear God’s disappointment saying….I was so excited at creation I thought it was good….very good….awesome in fact….why are these people not noticing just how wonderful creation is? And then God scratches God’s head…I just don’t get it!
How do we live in awe amidst all the distractions and tasks of our day?
How do we set our awe- o-meter so that awe becomes a more frequent experience?
It’s true that sometimes awe just comes upon us and we don’t have to do anything…we are just over come by it. That’s what happened to me at the Grand Canyon.
But, I also think we have lost our ability to experience awe as often as we could. I don’t’ know exactly why…maybe because we are busy obsessed, maybe because we don’t live so close to nature anymore, maybe we are distracted by technology, or maybe we don’t have enough solitude in our lives. All I know is I can go for days and weeks without feeling awe and I am certain I am not alone.
But that’s not how we start out I was reminded by my niece who has daughter 7 years old. She finds awe everywhere. Whenever I ask her father…how did Annalise like this or that he says everything is unicorns and rainbows with her! Recently seeing her grandmother’s birthday cake she said, “oh mommy look at that cake it is the most beautiful cake I have ever seen!” Of course my niece said it was just a cake not that special. But her daughter, She lives on the edge of awe at all times….her awe o meter is on high!!
Imagine how our days might be different if we began by saying….Today I expect to be awed…If our prayer was; God open my eyes that I might see and then maybe at the end of the day examine what has happened….ask…where did I feel awe today? Could it help? What if we treated awe as a spiritual practice and were intentional about experiencing awe….expecting it… paying attention?
Awe is indeed one of the greatest of spiritual practices.!
It’s just too easy to go through the day like robots. We have our routines, we like things a certain way and we can almost get stuck there like there is nothing new to see, we already have it all planned out. SO, Before we know it, the world feels a little dull…it’s like there’s a film over our eyes.
But the world was not created to be dull….it was created for awe…it is good…very good in fact!
Maybe as summer blossoms around us we can refocus our gaze for awe. Maybe as new life springs forth we can breathe it in slowly…with intention and shout out IT IS GOOD!!! Maybe our daily prayer can become…Open my eyes to awe God…help me to see…really see.
The essence of spiritual journey is returning to God over and over again…we get off track, we stray…and then we return. Perhaps one way we return to God is to live each day as the miracle it really is…this gift of life and this miracle of creation. It is good…it is very good. Let us return to God by living in AWE ! Amen