I occasionally substitute teach in my son’s high school, and one of my highlights is reading Fahrenheit 451 with the American Lit. class. I don’t recall reading this Ray Bradbury astonishingly prophetic classic in high school. (Then again, though I loved high school, I’m not sure I remember much of the subject matter I was taught—especially math.) Throughout the book, one of the themes is how distanced people become as they absorb themselves in technology. But near the end, Montag, the main character, gets some advice: “Stuff your eyes with wonder. Live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”
Whoa. The first time I read those sentences and the ones that followed, I slowed down and read them again. I’m guilty of spending too much time on devices and letting that numb my days. How could I stuff my eyes with wonder instead?
The next morning as I put in my contact lenses, I realized I was literally stuffing my eyes. Realistically, any time something gets in my eye, I’m desperate to get it out—but not when it comes to contacts. I mean, contacts are amazing! So I wondered about the first person who thought of using glass to make vision better. Then I wondered about the person who wondered, “You know, what if we literally put something on our eyeballs to help us see better?”
I started wondering more. In the past, we had no idea what was going on inside our bodies, but today CT scans and X-rays give us answers within hours. What about keys and locks? I mean, how is it possible that by using ridges and grooves, we can open up our homes and cars and offices? And can we shout out praise for the person who created the automatic washing machine? My wondering got a little silly when I thought about king crab. Who was the first brave soul to correctly think, “I bet that would be yummy—and let’s add butter!”?
At this time of year, as most people talk about what they are thankful for, let’s adapt that. Instead of being thankful for the blessings we already know about, let’s look for fresh wonders in our lives.
What are the small things you usually take for granted? What do you use every day that seems simple yet when you stop to think about it is actually astonishing? How has God used the creative gifts of people throughout history to make your life easier and more convenient? Then stuff your eyes with wonder about yourself. What are the gifts, talents, and abilities God has given you—and how wonderful is it to be a blessing to one person, to hundreds, to thousands?
After you’ve wondered a bit, head to our Instagram stories and answer the question about the wonderful things you’ve noticed. Or share this on Facebook and tell your own story of wonder. As we are full of wonder, other people will be too—and we can spread joy.
“The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy” (Psalm 65:8).
Linda Buxa is a writer and editor who has implemented Chicken Shoes Tuesday whenever she subs in the classroom.