There were two activities I participated in over this past year that cultivated a sense of wonder in my life: travel and working with children.
As I traveled around the US this year, I was constantly marveling over how airports are all different, but all feel the same. I felt as though keeping my mind open and imagination alive in the airports and airplanes kept me from becoming a jaded, female version of George Clooney's character in Up in the Air. Of course, there were also the wonderful sites I visited, too. Standing at the summit of Mauna Kea. Kayaking across Kealakekua Bay. Snorkeling with yellow and blue fish. Floating in the Pacific Ocean, holding hands with my husband. Sinking into powdery soft sand on Oahu. Staring into a mummy's empty eye sockets at the Field Museum in Chicago. Looking up at the teeth of a fossilized t-rex. Considering the concept that the learning doesn't end when your formal education does as I watched my sister and her boyfriend receive their degrees this spring. It is impossible to see these things and not be filled with wonder.
In July, I started a volunteer role at my church, assisting in the preschool Sunday school class. Working with the children fills me with a sense of wonder. I'm constantly wondering how much of the lesson they are absorbing, why they think they are in Sunday School, and what they are really thinking about. I love to see how they are full of wonder. Their lessons are presented in a theatrical format, with a low stage, sound effects, lighting, and sometimes, we have puppets. Though the effects are very minimal and easy to do, it seems like the children don't know that it isn't magic. Their reactions are a mix of wonder and excitement. Seeing my 30+ children (I'm just one of 10 adults in the room with them) is one of the highlights of my week. I like to think that they are helping me keep a sense of childlike wonder as I help them learn to be good citizens and disciples.