Kara’s Collection: Curiosity and Wonder

from an article originally posted May 18, 2014...

I have always had a curious mind. I’m a daydreamer and a question asker. I like to know the people I meet—really know them—and I like to understand how things work, how things are cooked, how something came to be. Some things I simply don’t care about. So I’m curious about certain things. Mostly people and mostly things that have to do with the right brain. I wondered if my first MRI would show I lacked a left brain altogether. Apparently it’s there, it’s just a bit broken. There are questions I wonder over, but don’t care if I will ever know the answer to. Then then are things I know the way my mind is made, I just won’t know. For instance, if a light bulb is burned out and the switch is still on, do you pay for electricity to go to that burned out light bulb? I look at my MANY lights with burned out light bulbs, I wonder if the switch is on or off, and then I wonder if I’m paying for that. But I don’t wonder enough to actually figure it out, though I’m sure one of you will know.

Last night we were watching a documentary called Happy about people in a remote part of Russia that live off the land. I think that’s where they are anyway. Jason started it, and I came in halfway through. It was a lot of hunting, talking about dogs, and fishing. One gentleman made an intricate trap. All sorts of weird little components that trap and kill the animal. But they were made from simple sticks and pieces. My mind just couldn’t figure it out. I turned to Jason and asked, Does that make sense to you? He said it did. I felt comforted that someone I love has a part of the brain function that I do not. I rested (and fell asleep); I didn’t need to understand that mystery.

But I love curiosity. Love it. I have honestly read nearly 30+ books on farming. I love reading about farming. Joel Salatin, Wendell Barry, actually anyone that likes to write on the subject is my favorite. I simply love the topic of sustainable living. LOVE IT. Have I ever farmed a day in my life? Nope.

I have a friend Julie Eargle in North Carolina that helped me understand something about marriage many years ago. You see, I have to force myself to read non-fiction writing. FORCE. Usually for a Bible study. But Julie Eargle challenged me to read the Pulitzer Prize winning list with her. I was delighted to have a friend to share my love for fiction with living just a short block away. Here is what she said in a nutshell. She said, isn’t it so important that we continue to develop our loves and curiosity. To grow in interests and thoughtfulness to simply continue to be an interesting person for ourselves and for our loves. I loved that. She said that at just the right moment. I had one child and was on the verge of having several more. So many had told me having children would take all my time and I would never read again. Those words always devastated me. But what Julie offered me with her advice was a gift—a grace gift. She taught me it was even more important in those little years to be reading, thinking, and developing my curiosity as I was raising my babies. Reading, for me, has always been something that I do in seasons. I have seasons of voracious reading and seasons of no reading. But Julie gave value to spending the time.

God made us curious. He made us hungry for information and learning. It makes us different from all of creation. Do we embrace the gift of curiosity? Some nights I can’t sleep—my mind, this mind, simply won’t turn off. I love how God made us thoughtful, able to love, to think, to read and learn something new. God made us to communicate, to process, and to wonder. I might love wonder the best. In the seasons when I have been broken down to surviving, breathing in and out, my quieted mind can still sit and wonder. I asked Jason to put four pictures of the kids in a place I could see them from the bed. On those breath to breath days, I could look at the faces on my wall and wonder over them, pray over them, and imagine and remember them, sweetly remember love.

What makes you curious? What fills you with wonder? What areas of the world and life do you long to understand? Which areas do you leave for the experts, but feel grateful someone understands? Do you let your mind be challenged? Do you care about developing yourself in a way that makes you interesting? If for no one else but the creation that is uniquely you. You were made to think, to dream, to wonder; how will you do that today?

I’m heading to Westside Church this morning to sing and wonder, to hear and learn, and to have my heart met uniquely by the Holy Spirit. Now there’s a mystery to wonder over. I get to learn and grow and meet another person in life. I get to live curious in my community. I’m curious about the hearts I will come in contact with today. Curiosity makes every day an adventure all its own. Julie, dear Julie, thank you for speaking the joy of curiosity into my life at exactly the right time. Readers make the best friends! You were a very good friend to a young mama all those years ago.