Monday, April 2, 2012

Countless Wonder

I love strawberries. Aren’t they a marvel? Isn’t a truly freshly picked, sun-ripened berry astounding? Tart and sweet, fragrant, juicy and yet a little firm, with tiny crunchy seeds, a strawberry is a marvelous thing.

The mullah Nasruddin had a friend over to enjoy the fresh strawberries Nasruddin had in his garden. They were terrific strawberries, at the peak of perfection, tiny gems of deliciousness.

“Have some more of these delicious strawberries,” Nasruddin said.

“Thank you,” his friend replied, “but I’ve already had seven of these wonderful berries!”

“Excuse me, my friend,” Nasruddin said, “as you know I do not usually count, but you’ve had ten.”

Some days I’d rather stick to what I can count, to the commodification of life, to living in the economy of exchange, even, if I’m honest, to the economy of power over others. Yes, I have days when I seek the “best deal” even when I know that my “deal” comes with the blood and sweat of others.  When living in wonderment, we live in the economy of grace, an economy generous and life-affirming and life-stewarding because we’re all in this together, we’re all already part of this whole amazing life. Wonderment invites us to enjoy the strawberries with our friend in the garden of earthly awe, sharing, and reverence.

Submitting to living in wonderment is a radical path of being, known in every world religious tradition, including our own. When we live in wonderment, we live having to care for the whole. Divisions between us fall away and the differences that remain are sources of awe and wonder, not sources of fear and anger, of threat and suffering.

Wonderment is a truly priceless path, available to all of us. After all, we are born into a state of wonder: the new family gathered together is in awe of their connections, their being, their being together.  The tolls that are taken are the assumptions that hold us apart, the disgruntlement and world-weariness and irreverence that are so very comfortable and dominate our news and entertainment, the separation of our particular self as somehow more important than the whole.  

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