What A Wonderful World
“I hear babies crying, I watch them grow. They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know and I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”~Thiele/Weiss~
An old friend once told me that when he took all the variables into consideration, life was marvelous. My own life was rapidly circling the bowl at the time, so as I recall, I responded to his optimistic observation with a tight-lipped, squinty-eyed grimace.
Now, many years and miles later, after experiencing the highs and lows of the pendulum—or perhaps because of those highs and lows—I have come to understand that my old friend spoke the truth.
What A Wonderful World is a song guaranteed to crease even a hardened cynic’s face. Louis Armstrong was the first to record it, releasing it as a single in 1968. There are dozens of other recordings of it, but none have the authentic contagion of Armstrong’s version.
When you woke up this morning and tossed off the covers, did you realize you were unwrapping a new gift? The free gift of a new day has been given to you, so what are you doing with it?
Do you cherish each breath, recognizing that the breath in your body is a gift of God? Or are you grumbling your way through just another day of the habitual grind, giving no thought to the treasure that you possess?
To some the gift of a new day has been withheld; their eyes remain closed to the bright sunshine and simple pleasures of life.
Hard Knocks & Miracles
Life can be tough and tedious, but the alternative is to crawl into a box with brass handles. No more sunrises, no more sunsets, no more babies crying or watching them grow, no more rainbows in the sky, and no more star speckled nights.
Life can be a series of hard knocks and rough scrapes, but in the midst of those struggles we catch a glimpse of beauty when we acknowledge that life is a gift of God to be prized. We are to take delight in its joys, drink in its wonders and rise to its challenges with dignity and courage.
Life is a precious gift of God and we ought to treat it with respect, appreciating every ordinary moment for the miracle that it is. Augustus McCrae, a character in the movie Lonesome Dove, crystallized it for me when he said: “Now the only healthy way to live—as I see it—is to learn to like all the little everyday things.”
Albert Einstein put it this way: “There are only two ways to live your life. One as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
Everything is a miracle because everything we see, touch, feel, hear and taste emanates from a supernatural Creator who always loves, always cares, and is always drawing us to himself. The blessings of God never have to be pried out of his hand.
Marvel & Mystery
It’s not difficult for me to comprehend why Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
In our clutch-and-grab world, there is no question that children can teach us tightly wound adults a thing or two about wisdom. We tend to scurry past the miraculous without ever noticing it. In our upwardly mobile climb up the ladder of success, we do not have the time to value the astonishing sensations of the commonplace.
But children are different. Children take and make time to relish the simplicity of the miraculous. Children have a humility and grace that translate into a reverent awe about the marvel and mystery of life. Their attitude is like a window looking out on what is really important in life.
Adults rarely pay attention to the marvel or mystery. Even when we do actually watch a child’s wondrous discoveries, we seldom follow through on the lessons they teach us.
Children approach life with a mixture of curiosity and charm that causes them to be amazed by all the everyday miracles adults routinely ignore or take for granted.
A daffodil bursting forth, a dandelion going to seed, a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, a starry night, a blue sky roof that goes on forever and is so strikingly rich in color it makes your eyes water to look at it.
Beauty. Wonder. Mystery. Awesome miracles. Children giggle and laugh and turn somersaults of glee because of them, while adults miss them because we go through our whirlwind days with blinders on.
All The Variables
Isn’t it past time for us to heed the instructions of Jesus? At the very least, should we not make intentional efforts to “change and become like little children”?
Children instinctively know that it’s a wonderful world; children perceive that life is a precious gift of God and respond to it accordingly. Children naturally live the truth that my old friend proclaimed: Taking all the variables into consideration, life is marvelous.