Once I heard and answered all the questions
of the crickets,
And joined the crying of each falling dying
flake of snow,
Once I spoke the language of the flowers…
How did it go?
How did it go? (Shel Silverstein, “Forgotten Language”)
Your way, O God, is holy; who is so great a god as our God? You are the God who works wonders and have declared your power among the peoples. (Psalm 77:13-14; context)
Closely linked to Imagination is the expansive concept of Wonder. Wonder comes in two forms, and young children exhibit both. First, wonder happens when you are in awe of something. Wonder is the state of being of those engrossed in something bigger than themselves that they cannot explain. Neither do they desire to explain it. Rather, they stand in wonder, open to realities that exist on a larger scale than any one person, but also personally connected to the greater reality. In small children, this kind of wonder happens for all sorts of things – things that grown-ups consider mundane. The rain pattering a window, the dog’s fur, and the fireplace’s crackle each have the capacity to instill wonder in the young child who has never experienced these things before.
Second, wonder happens when the desire to explain creeps in, but the ability to explain does not exist. At this point, wonderers have a choice. They can ignore the inability to explain and begin to question anyway. These will always be unsatisfied by insufficient answers. Or they can continue wondering, they can offer imaginative suggestions that do not seek to answer, but rather seek to tunnel deeper into the object of the wonder.
Adults look for answers. Young children are happy exploring without needing such a goal at the end. Of course, each child comes to the age where the questioning begins and each question leads to the next. Accessing the time before that change can bring us closer to God, the source of all wonder.
Dear God, you are the greatest reality in the universe. Help me to turn narrow questions into expansive statements of wonder and fill me with the expectation to be surprised. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.
I leave this moment with you, God, joyful that I have been in your presence for my whole existence, whether I remember or not.
One thought on “The Fireplace’s Crackle (May 9, 2013)”
Adam, thank you for enabling children to wonder… by your own wondering…and by your deep support for Godly Play! Blessings on Ascension Day…. Hmmmm, I wonder how that happened???