Tuesday: 31Dec13--amazing is what's taken place in 2013.
...it is also what the possibilities are for 2014.
That "A" word has not left me alone for another day, this concluding day of The Year of Our Lord, 2013. Words can bring life. Words can destroy. Spoken. Written. All cultures live by words. Language. You do. I do. Let's pay attention to how and when we use our words.
It may be a bit of a crazy habit, but when a word won't work its way out of this olde brain, I like to check in with my finer dictionary friends to first see how a word is defined. With my favorite dictionary app I can also find when in past history a word was first formed and used, thus the dates that will be attached to what you read below:
1534--astonish: to cause a feeling of great wonder or surprise in someone (travsitive verb)
1566--astonishment: a feeling of being very surprised (noun)
1593--astonishing: causing a feeling of great wonder or surprise (adjective)
Astonish can define the simplest of moments, and the most grande. It can surprise you, disappoint you, define you. Some times you can literally feel it, see it, taste it, hear it, smell it. From newborn to the oldest elder on the planet, it is waiting to be observed and experienced. It does not play favorites with age, gender, ethnicity, intellect, financial rich or poor, body shape, how fit or unfit, how much or how little one is educated, nor most belief systems. It knows both pain and joy. It can be fleeting. It can hang around for a long time. Not to be overly redundant, but astonishment is...........astonishing. That I believe.
It is a persihable commodity, and also one that can be an igniting fuse, suggests a favorite author, Robert Farrar Capon, in his significant, powerful book The Astonished Heart: Reclaiming the Good News from the Lost-and-Found of Church History. The way I mark up and date books for when I'm reading them, I see I read these words on a train ride from Vienna to Baden, Austria on 26Jan99, almost 15 years ago when consulting with an extraordinary NGO that focuses on the severe plight of the world's 37,000,000 refugees:
We are in a war between dulness and astonishment. Not between conservative and liberal, not between peasant and intellect--and above all, not between believer and non-believer. The modern world is dying to believe....(writing of what people are hungry and thirsty for) it's the thirst for astonishment that drives them. And it's the thirst that we most need to recover. Blessed are those, and only those, who hunger and thirst.
As I write this, "the ball" has already come down in New York City. In a few minutes here in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, in a brief second, 2013 will be no more. In the next second, 2014 will have arrived. I've watched the celebration in Sydney, Dubai, London, NYC via television. That alone is astonishing from within my own 72 years of life.
I plan to use this "A" word as a partial guide for the year to come. I may not even be here one year from now. Or 23 years from now (...sincerely hoping for at least that many more). Tonight I plan to be, hope to be, look to be, will be fully alive to be astonished often.
What are you planning, hoping, looking for, willing to be in 2014?
May you be more blessed in the year to come than you might imagine.
May you be astonished often!!!
Choose to be fully alive...no matter what.
Tonight...here's to life!!!