Walking Past the Sparkling Water

by Steve Hall

That’s beautiful water!” my daughter Olivia exclaimed as we walked past a small pond the other day. The magnificent light show on the crest of the small waves of water immediately caught all of our eyes, shimmering and shining like something you would read about in a fairy tale. But yet, this world isn’t the stuff of fairy tales. Is it?

We’ve been talking about this at our house recently— the fact that, built into the nitty gritty realness of this world, is constant wonder. A breathtaking and magical world, full of so much to learn and discover and enjoy. A world which we have become so accustomed to that we often don’t really “see” it. As G. K. Chesterton said,

There are no uninteresting things, only uninterested people.

Imagine having been set down in this earth for the very first time, coming from some lifeless, drab, rocky planet. And then you see something as spectacular and strange as a very tall giant object sprouting out of the ground with bushy green all over the top. Or, small creatures that sing fluttering by on the wind, with various colors all over them. Or masses of fluffy white above your head. Or sparkling water rippling in the wind. All of it real. Every inch pulsating with life. Not plastic. Not all stainless steelish. But instead, colors, temperatures, textures, sweet and sour, smooth and scratchy, loud crashing, soft rustling, stately, humorous (think of a flamingo)… we could go on.

Here is another mental exercise. Imagine for a moment that we actually found another planet that is as full of life as our own earth. Yet, everything over there is very, very different. Instead of trees there are… (you fill in the blank.) Instead of birds you see… Colors we know are not the same at all… But it is all just as “real” as our own world. And the inhabitants are just as unimpressed about this “fairy tale” world we have found as we can be about our own. As a famous phrase from Kellogg’s used to say about Corn Flakes, maybe we should “taste it again for the first time.”

Little ones remind us of the wonder. They are delighted with experiencing the world around them, as they open and shut a door, or stick their toes in the sand, or roll a ball down the sidewalk, or splash in water. Again, I quote Chesterton, from his book, Orthodoxy,

Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them.

It really is a magical world given to us by the God of wonders. The crown jewel of this created world is people. People were made for this place, and this place was made for people. And people were made to worship the Creator of it all.

So, lift up your head! As wonderful as that phone in your hand may be, even greater things are just buzzing all around you today. The real world, created of the stuff of fairy tales.

Photo taken by my wife and daughter on an early summer evening.

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