This is a word with shades of color and meaning. I’ve been thinking about awe for awhile now, having read a recent article that touched on the benefits of recognizing and experiencing awe.
I thought about it early this morning. I was sitting in my son’s backyard watching the geese do a fly-by, and a short time later arrive on foot as they walked up the alley. They were here for the daily scoops of corn my son or my daughter-in-law toss their way.
These stunning birds have been daily visitors, when they are in town, for years. I thought about the promise of food in this place, and of the geese memory that guides them here.
I thought about awe as I spent some time with the tree in the backyard. It suffered during the extraordinary freeze across Texas earlier this year. Its trunk split and has been slow to repair itself. On the other hand the tree has branched out along the trunk, instead of along the arms as one would expect. There is hope in the novel way the tree has chosen to heal.
“Trees provoke awe—that emotional response to something vast that expands and challenges the way we see the world”, according to Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, who studies awe. Research also shows that awe decreases stress and anxiety. It can quiet our mental chatter,
Of course I thought about being in awe of my grandson, Jack, as he set a goal and worked toward it for a number of years. He was then tested on his ability, strength, perseverance and courage. He succeeded and now has his 2nd Degree Black Belt.
I will say, too, that I also needed strength and courage to sit through the six hours of testing.
And how can I not be awed by God and God’s presence in our lives? God has brought together my Keller family’s church parish and their new rector. A wonderful man of God now serves the church where my family worships. I have known Alan for many years and now here he is with my family. Today was his first day, and here I was in town. It was a wonderful reunion!
And lest I forget the reality of travel by air. I’m awed by how planes accomplish takeoff, landing and all the time in-between. I’m in awe of myself for having the ability to fly – and do so with ease. I’m flying as I write this. The scenery is awesome. Just look outside my window.
God’s palette. I’m in awe.
Look around. Find your awe.