The Power of Wow

Last weekend we ran from the high school to the reservoir. As we were catching our breath and enjoying the scenery, we heard a small, unusual ruckus. It turns out that a little turtle had tumbled from his high perch to the ground. We wondered, “Do we turn him over?” Someone said it would take a lot of effort for him to do it, so we flipped him to his belly. There, he scooted away much faster than anticipated and we giggled.

You never know when something unexpected will jump from nowhere and make you smile.

If this pandemic has proven anything, it’s how much we have at our disposal. We can get anything bought, streamed, or delivered. And yet it’s small moments of joy that I’ll remember. Rich is the one who never loses the ability to see something wonderful and say, “Wow.”

When I saw the mighty Denali in Alaska on a miraculously clear day, the feeling of awe was like the deepest bass note in my core. But I’m not sure it was any more spectacular than when I greeted my friends after each had run the marathon of their lives on an equally cold, clear day in Richmond.

Certainly nature provides us with some of the most soul-stirring moments we will ever experience. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God’s handwriting — a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.”

I can’t ever think of evolution of a caterpillar to cocoon to butterfly without being awestruck.

But the smallest things in every day can be the source of “Wow” if we view them correctly. When you see a crawling baby and a week later she is toddling around on two legs — “Wow!”.

Sometimes our wow moments are personal. At least once a week, when I go to the grocery store, I feel amazement that I can actually buy whatever food I want. I don’t do it, but if I want to buy $100 in cookies, I could do it. (That I can and want to buy healthy food is perhaps more remarkable, even.)

Tonight my wife brought home some mustard and asked if I was okay with her buying the cheapest brand. Please don’t think I am being sarcastic when I say that even having the luxurious option to buy any of the dozens of available mustards is not lost on me.

This morning we set out with lights into the pre-dawn darkness. We ran our hearts out and when we were finishing, soaked in sweat, happy in our performance, and joyous in our fellowship, we were treated to a bright sunrise. That this made over 22,000 sunrises for me makes it no less wow-worthy.

On the day I die, if I have found one thing that made me say “Wow”, it will have been a good day.

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