I Wonder
Tom Walsh


If there's anything that I hope I never lose during the days that I'm on this planet, it's the sense of wonder that allows me to see life as a beautiful, amazing process that I'm very fortunate to be able to witness.  The sense of wonder that I've been blessed with allows me to feel much more of life, and it keeps me looking for more and more things to wonder at.  It keeps things fresh and new, for there's never any telling what any new moment will bring.  When I take a walk downtown I may be seeing the same sights, but there's always something amazing to see, even if it's just the leaves on the trees that continue to produce oxygen all the time and convert sunlight to energy for the tree to grow.  It may be the way the light hits a certain building, or the way it reflects off of a window to illuminate something in a way I've never seen it before.

There's much in life that I wonder at.

I wonder when I see the eyes of a child--I wonder at the brightness and the curiosity and the openness to new ideas and experiences.

I wonder when I see the eyes of an adult--I wonder at the experiences that have come together to give this person his or her particular view of the world.  So many people have lived through so much, and it's a wonder that so many people have come so far.

I wonder when I see the rain fall--what held it up there in the first place if it's so heavy?  It's wonderful that it's going to soak into the earth and help the plants grow and give us water to drink.

I wonder at the wind--we can't see it or touch it, but there it is, and this unseen, untouchable thing can give us a beautiful soft breeze or be one of the most destructive forces on the planet.

I wonder at the sunlight, which has traveled millions of miles just to be with us.  The light that warms my skin and nourishes the plants left the sun eight minutes ago in order to travel the 93 million miles to get here.

I wonder at the songs of birds, who share their voices with us all the time, asking nothing in return.  Even without harmony or rhythm, their songs are beautiful and amazing.

I wonder at the many wonderful people who spend their lives helping others.  Many risk their lives to provide that help, and what they do is simply amazing.  Doctors, researchers, emergency personnel, teachers--the list is almost endless.

I wonder when I look at the things on my desk.  The books have been inspired by some, written by someone else, edited by others, printed by someone else, distributed by yet others, stocked in the store by another person, and sold to me by someone else.  And so it is with everything here--their existence can be traced through an incredible number of people, all of whom have worked to bring it to me.

I wonder when I turn on a light.  From the vast chain of people involved in producing the light bulb and getting it to me, to the chain of people involved in producing the electricity and making it available to the home in which I live, the fact that I can flip a little switch and get light is nothing short of a miracle to me.

You see, in these days when so many people claim that no more miracles happen, there are many amazing miracles happening every single day, in every single moment.  We are incredibly blessed with an amazing world, and our lives will be much richer the more that we allow ourselves to maintain the sense of wonder that we were born with--it's that sense of wonder that keeps open the door to appreciation, and the appreciation that allows us to feel gratitude.

This world is a wonderful place, and it's up to us to see that wonder, to feel it, and to let it be an important part of who we are.  The wonder is always there--the only question is whether we notice it and allow ourselves to feel that wonder.  Sometimes it takes practice to get back to a point at which we can, but it's time and effort well spent.


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Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.