Crossing the Wonder Line
Earth is crammed with Heaven -Elizabeth Barrett Browning
I recently read an interview with an author I admire. He said his family plays a game at dinnertime called, “Crossing the Wonder Line.” The object of the game is to take a review of one’s day to recall a moment where you were awe-struck by the gift of life. Maybe its an experience of beauty found in nature or a relationship, an unexpected surprise of joy, or a spiritual Eureka where you discover a little piece of the cosmic puzzle. You’ll know you have crossed the wonder line by a few goosebumps and the lift your spirit seems to take within your earthbound frame. Mystics would define the experience as a brush with the Divine. A.W. Tozer captured it beautifully, “When the eyes of the soul looking out meet the eyes of God looking in, heaven has begun right here on earth.”
I believe God designed us with an intuitive soul that is capable of profound wonder. It is God’s way of showing us what our earthy experience is supposed to be. I visualize it as a lightness of being where the weight of my world shrinks in deference to its beauty. I feel ebullient. In that precious moment, all is good.
Recently, I was asked to define my understanding of faith. Over my life faith has taken many forms; a place to go when I had no where else to go; a source of inspiration and purpose; an opportunity to discover my true self and my connection with God; a grounding for my being. But faith is also this secret inner longing or curiosity to experience something more than the material, or as I call it the “divine marvelous.” Crossing the wonder line is a spiritual experience. Wonder is glimpsing the world from an out-of-this world, maybe even divine perspective.
The poet Rumi said, “You were born with wings. Why prefer to crawl through life.” If I am honest, I am the reason I don’t experience more wonder in my life. How many like me are crawling through life when we could be hopscotching the wonder line? Stress is the number one reason we live grounded in the material and miss the transcendent. I find myself envious of my one year old, Finn, who, having just taken his first steps, lives in a perpetual state of wonder. He has this insatiable need, arms open to the world, to explore, to embrace.
Antonyms of wonder are anxiousness, self-centeredness, agitation and hopelessness. Speaking from experience, I know intimately what keeps me from experiencing God and God-given joy. I pigeon-hole myself and easily miss the signs of God in a given day. Life’s stresses dull my spiritual senses. Could we be fitted with a tuning fork engineered to pick up the transcendent, the supernatural, the very movements of God? I believe we are. But we have to step outside ourselves so we can be led by the spirit. Greet the day with gratitude. It remains the fastest way to warm us up for God to come on stage. It’s a simple exercise of naming three things that make this life worth living today. Try looking on the positive side in every situation. To cross the wonder line requires eyes pealed for goodness. We must live in a state of anticipation and participate in a daily game of “I spy” in search of joy, beauty, love and hope.
There is a French culinary expression, “cooking au pif,” which roughly translated means “cooking by the nose,” or being led less by a recipe and more by one’s intuition. The French would say you can literally taste the heart of a chef who creates “au pif.” I am drawn to people who live their lives “au pif.” They seem to cross the wonder line more than most. They are curious, take risks, follow their intuitive hearts for the reward of experiencing more of the wondrous.
It’s a choice to cross the wonder line. It is in those marvelous moments that we are surprised by the genius, the delicate beauty and the preciousness of God’s design. We find our wings.
Live in Hope,
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