Opening Your Eyes to Awe
Holding on to our sense of curiosity and awe, because it opens our minds and links us to the Almighty.
I am not totally immune to the pull of social media. While I have disciplined myself not to post anything personal on Facebook (a habit I highly recommend!) – my husband and I do use our family whatsapp chat to give our children up-to-date information about our whereabouts and activities, especially when traveling.
And, (true confessions here) if we think we’re doing something particularly cute (!) or interesting, we upload a picture. Like I said, I’m not totally immune. So when we found ourselves touring the Hadera Desalination plant last week, hard hats atop our heads, we just couldn’t resist. We had to take a picture.
“Isn’t this cute?” and we hit send. “Isn’t this interesting?” we prodded. Israel, a country with virtually no potable water, has accomplished a seeming miracle. It now has a surplus of drinking water through its amazing desalination efforts. (For those of us living in drought-ridden southern California, this is particularly striking.) We were in awe. (Click here to read more about Israel’s amazing desalination efforts.)
Our kids? Not so much. They nodded indulgently (I could tell even online!) and exchanged knowing cyber-glances that said “That’s just Eema and Abba again” (code for “That’s just our weird parents and glad we’re not there!”).
I’ve accepted that about my kids along with their aversion to the “m” word (museum) but part of me does think it’s sad (sorry everyone). Because even though I’m not a scientist and what I liked about the sophisticated computers used to run the plant were the precise and colorful drawings of the pipes and cylinders, I was still in awe.
I think that’s the opportunity being missed. The Almighty created us with so many different talents and inclinations, and to see the realized expression of (many although certainly not all) of them is truly something wondrous to behold.
In his recently published memoir, Dick van Dyke wrote that we are taught to “put aside childish things when you grow up. I take that to mean willfulness, self-centeredness, and things like that – not imagination, creativity, and joyful curiosity.”
The Chazon Ish (one of our greatest rabbis of the last century) once told his students to take a break from learning and took them swimming. Splashing in the water, he taught them that “if you want to come up with creative new understanding in Torah, you need to be playful.”
We don’t want to lose that childlike side; we just need to know when to pull it out.
We want to maintain our joy and awe and curiosity – because it opens our minds and it links us to the Almighty.
The desalination plant was really something to behold. As were the Herodian ruins in Caesarea and the amazing pottery and paper maché crafts at the boutiques in Zichron Yaakov. Each was, in its own way, testimony to the amazing gifts the Almighty has bestowed upon us.
And the potential for gratitude and awe when we look at them and acknowledge it.