There’s nothing like finding yourself jobless, groundless and essentially homeless to make you re-evaluate your life.
Sometimes I wonder if Mary felt the same as she temporarily emigrated her way to Bethlehem, heavily pregnant, the pariah of her home town, still trying to get her head around what had just happened. You know – that whole angel-proclaims-you’re-about-to-give-birth-to-God-Himself thing…
There’s nothing like having the life you were so innocently planning, freeze, throw a curve ball, then suddenly cancel its course altogether. And there you are, dangling on the end of shock and chaos, and wondering if you even have a life anymore.
Discombobulation is one hell of a state of being.
I should know. I have held its hand for almost two years now.
To be fair, I am not wobbling atop a donkey with a swollen bellyful of Messiah. But I know the exhaustion of leaving behind a life you no longer own and lurching towards a life you do not yet recognize.
I know what it is to always be on the move. To hover uncertainly within my own skin. To not know when and where to set my feet down.
Not quite sure what I’m doing. Not quite sure where I fit. Not quite sure if I’m in the right chapter anymore, or even in the right book.
Tell me, Mary, did you ever want to rip out that chapter and start again?
Because I’d sure like to get a few refunds on some of my pages.
But there’s also nothing like having life throw a tantrum on the floor, to force you to rise above the chaos and own it instead.
That is what resilience is, after all.
It is not to pretend the blow never happened. Nor is it to shrink back in meek woundedness.
It is taking the hits. It is feeling them even. It is sorrowing and struggling and yet somehow still seeking to lift your eyes above the chaos.
It is straining to see the gold that shimmers behind the clouds.
It is daring to see the wonder.
And it is realising that wonder is found, most often, in the little things.
I learned this first hand when I began to live again, after merely existing for too long in silent grief.
First it was the breeze that whispered freedom to my feet. Then it was the sheer delight of open skies. The fresh wind made me gasp, the scented earth made me breathe, standing alone on a wild winter shore filled me with uncontainable delight. I danced with the trees and twirled beneath a million stars and lifted my hands to wave at the moon who watched in silver silence.
There was nothing particularly special about these moments, and yet the overwhelming magnitude of the wondrous world around me rang deep into the very fibres of my soul.
But the pealing ring of wonder came not from the brightest and boldest of bells, but from the quietest of voices.
I found wonder in the laughter of the ocean. In the gentle caress of the grass. In the leaves whispering softly like a lover, and in the quiet beauty of a dusky rose.
She found wonder in the dewy freshness of her newborn baby’s cheek.
Yes, we have seen the wonder, Mary and I.
And it is not in the grand and glitzy palaces of splendour or in the pristine pages of a story that knows where it is going.
It is there in the gritty manger scene, dusty with straw and tainted with dung and cowhide and damp. It is there in the shadows that mock a hurting soul, dusty with fear and tainted with brokenness and despair.
So what if we are desperately seeking sanctuary at an inn? So what if tears are our only companion in yet another hour of darkness? We may be lost or confused or kind of okay…
…and yet, we can still somehow soften our gaze and look with awe upon the tiny salt-washed shell, or the silken flower petal, or the peacefully sleeping child.
Truth is, we walk beside wonder every day.
It turns out that Mary didn’t need to know the whole plan in order to know the hope of her story. It turns out I don’t need to have my life sorted in order to see the beauty of life itself.
It turns out that wonder is, in fact, right here all along. It is pulsing around us relentlessly, effortlessly, continuously. And you don’t have to search very hard to find it either.
Just open your eyes to the little things, and open your heart to the quiet things…
And let the wonder find you.