I have always been a huge advocate of “awe” and “spontaneity”, and I now believe they are more important than ever in a culture that is increasingly stressed out. I think it’s an incredible travesty that we’re losing our sense of awe as a culture. Because of the plethora of products, foods, and entertainment, society has become somewhat jaded to the ordinary. It seems that no matter what new gadget comes out, in no time at all it becomes a thing of the past.
Even at 86, my grandfather still had a twinkle in his eye whenever it was time to plan something either a visit to someone’s house, a meal, or an errand. It was never “Oh, I just did that last week” or “Why do we have to do that?” He immediately kicked into Andiamo! (Let’s go!) and never tired of anything except of course an illness or a tragedy. Then he’d throw his arms up and declare that it was now in God’s hands.
If you have small children, you’ll notice they have a similar response mechanism. even if they see a bug a hundred times, they’re still captivated by it; whereas most adults might be ready to squash it. There is always room for awe—-one can never discover the entirety of anything. As such make becoming jaded your worst nightmare.
Spontaneity is so necessary to the human spirit. There’s no specific plan, no dire need, you just do it because. As time passes, it’s easy to get into a rut and become a slave to a set way of being. It’s like a yoke around your neck that’s dragged around by a master you could refuse to obey but feel indebted to because it’s safe and familiar. How dull to have lost the ability to just decide in the moment that you can do something different.
I realize that all of us have responsibilities, but we also have many life situations that aren’t as serious as leaving a patient unsutured on the operating room table. I’ll never forget the Thanksgiving when I was about 13 years old. Everyone attended except one of my uncles who lived in Virginia. We were sitting at the table enjoying the meal when out of the blue my mother wondered aloud what my uncle might be doing. And so we piled the turkey in the car and we all drove to his house. We didn’t get there until midnight. We threw pebbles at his windows, they all got up and finished dinner with us. It was totally off the wall… and unforgettable.
Spontaneity is the surprise that our souls desire. I can’t suggest any activities because that would defeat the purpose. Premeditated spontaneity isn’t living in the moment. So the ball is in your court.
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