Standing on a beach at sunset makes me feel small and important at the same time. When I’m watching the sunset, I feel connected to the creator and fully alive.
When I was home in Cleveland for a few days, I went to the beach to watch the sunset.
People splashed in the waves and laughed as the sunset performed its kaleidoscope magic. Their joy washed over me, too. I really needed that awe and wonder moment.
The last six months have been grueling. The daily attempts to take health care from millions, cut services to the needy, and trash the earth have taken a toll on us all. A sense of fatigue sets in on those of us who feel a divine call to protect the vulnerable, fight injustice, and treat God’s creation as sacred.
One of my friends compares it to background noise, a daily undercurrent that can slowly drain our energy, inspiration, and courage if we allow it to happen. We need daily moments of awe and wonder to rejuvenate and recharge us — especially now.
Self-care is important. If we lose our enthusiasm and start going through the motions, we’re not much good to anyone — including ourselves. Our love is diminished when we lose our sense of connectedness to the source of love, awe, and wonder. Our lives are diminished, too.
The gospels describe Jesus spending time in solitude to pray and recharge. He needed to get away from daily demands and reconnect with God. After reconnecting with the source, he returned to doing what he was meant to do — heal, love, teach, and transform.
Those holy moments of reconnection aren’t only about God and me. They’re also about you and me. They reconnect us to one another.
I was reminded of those connective properties a few years ago while I was walking along the Siesta Key beach in Florida as the sun was setting. Dozens of people were enjoying the moment with me; some were jogging and others walked along listening to their music.
We were in our own minds until the people ahead of me stopped and pointed toward the gulf. I stopped and looked as well. A pod of dolphins was playing in the sunset-tinged waves, splashing about in a way that made me smile.
Soon, most of the people on the beach stopped to watch and marvel together. It was a true moment of collective awe.
Our sense of awe overcame our differences and brought us together.
This diverse group of people — different ages, different backgrounds, different religions, different political outlooks — stood together and shared a moment of wonder.
Let’s make more moments like this happen.
Let's make the effort every day to get out of the clutter in our brains and pay attention to the miracles that are all around us and within us. And let’s not just enjoy those moments by ourselves; let’s share them with others and revel in them together, reaffirming our interconnectedness in the miracle life.
Let’s set aside time each day for a little shared awe and wonder.