Do you remember how it felt to wake up to the first winter snow? How white it seems, that first snowfall. Hauntingly perfect. As a child, you probably couldn’t wait to get out there in it. To make the first snowman. To throw snow balls at your buddies. Or just to mess up that perfect white blanket covering the lawn.
What about the first time you saw the Redwood forest? Or the ocean? The first time you heard someone sing in such a way that it stirred something deep in your soul?
And what about Christmas? Did you ever shake the box to try to figure out what was inside?
It was easy to feel this sense of wonder as a child, because everything was so new. As new as that first snowfall of the season.
I am in utter awe of how my children marvel at the world around them. But what happened to the rest of us? How did we lose our zeal for life? Where did the wonder of it all go?
Our wounds have crippled us. You know what I mean? The hardness of life settles in and robs us of the wonder of being alive. We’ve grown cynical. Unbelieving. Or worse yet, bored.
Perhaps the greatest gift we can give ourselves is to close our eyes to the things that have hurt us and then open them once more to the amazing world we live in. Our children might be our greatest teachers in this.
But how do we return to our child heart?
Let yourself be moved.
We are a culture that has been entertained to death. But there is still room for story. A good story will peel back the layers of our heart and expose the marrow, if we will let it. This is where our old wounds are found, some of them buried so deep in hope they will never surface again. But they do surface. And it’s often when we watch a scene in a movie, or hear a familiar song, that something will strike the raw nerve of our subconscious, moving us to tears or to anger. Memories are like subtle fingerprints on glass. For this reason, we often close ourselves off to the heart, because some memories are painful.
But let yourself be moved!
Let yourself be moved in such a way that your heart will open, even if there is stuff there that is raw and unnerved. And then deal with the stuff exposed there.
Make space for play.
My kids have voracious imaginations. Their playtime is never orchestrated or manufactured, but flows like a river from their creativity. Imagination is a strong magic that connects us with our childhood heart, creating a world where anything is possible. Hope can be a catalyst for wonder, and hope has a very special relationship with imagination. When we can envision a world of possibility, the way we see our environment, our circumstances, even our shortcomings, will change. We are no longer held hostage by life, but rather captivated by it.
So I say find your creativity. Return to a life of play.
Even if the neighbors stare.
Things don’t bring contentment.
Somewhere along the path we’ve accepted the lie that accumulating things instead of experiences would make us happy. We go to school so we can find a good job, so that we can buy a house and fill it up with things. As we get older, we need to make more space to store the things we’ve accumulated along the way.
Our culture is built on the idea of consumption. We are taught at a young age that our value is in making enough money to acquire the kind of life that will make us content. So we chase wealth, we accumulate debt, and eventually we find that true life cannot be bought at any store.
I have learned that the act of producing, rather than consuming, leads to satisfaction. If we seek to leave more than we can take, to give, to serve and to provide value to the people in our circle of influence, then we are building a life worth living. It’s not about the things we possess, but about the impact we can have in the lives of others.
That is the road to contentment.
An attitude of gratitude.
If we walk through life with a chip on our shoulder, or if we blame others for our own discontent, then we’ll never experience true wonderment. But when we practice gratitude, we humble ourselves and condition our hearts to experience life in a completely different way.
We cannot find wonderment in life if we are living within a constant storm, and practicing gratitude will allow peace to fill our lives by taking our focus off ourselves and the things we can’t control. It’s often our own attitudes that get in the way of finding joy.
And joy must be restored in order for us to resurrect our child heart.
There is wonder in this life. I promise. It’s a gift available to anyone who will seek it.
We’re all too serious anyway.
Be well –