One of my former professors from my counseling program asked his students to reflect on my blogs this semester and then invited me to visit the class. Returning to Loyola drew me into a sense of wonder about all that has happened in me since I first sat in the very seats of the students I met last Thursday. I remembered what it felt like to be in the midst of preparation for something new. To see these students in that place, talking about my blog as a now practitioner on the proverbial “other side” filled me with a sense of wonder. How delightful and humbling to talk with them about how my thoughts today were intersecting with this season of newness for them!
Advent, at its best, ought to bring a similar sense of wonder. We have been here, in this season before, many times! But this year we are on the other side of whatever challenges that faced us one year ago. So much of the wonder of Advent is seeing how the miracle of an incarnate God is felt and experienced in our own year-to-year living. The discipline of noticing (a.k.a contemplation) helps us grow our sense of wonder and astonishment. “When we recover our capacity to be astonished within ordinary experience, we will again be astonished.” (p.71)
Take a moment to reflect on what you were facing last year during Advent. What have you come through? What resolved differently than you expected? What is still undone? What have you seen grow in yourself that you never thought you’d see? Could this exercise cultivate your sense of wonder this Advent? I would love to read the ways your wonder swells as you marvel at how far you’ve come, how surprised you’ve been, or how you’ve endured or finished something you never thought you could. My visit to my former school helped me remember sitting in my first classes and wondering what it would feel like to actually be a therapist. Now, I marvel at the amazing fact that I decided one day to do this new thing and NOW I’M DOING IT! I’m on the other side! Visiting the class punctuated a happy full circle for me, especially as I remember the fulfilling joys and the excruciating pains that the journey held.
Please share your own reflections and fuel a growing sense of wonder in us all!
The quote is from Ron Rolheiser’s The Shattered Lantern.