From the Editor Summer 2024: Wonder

I think we can get used to it, being alive. We go through our day-to-day and hardly notice it, the smell of the coffee as we pour water over ground-up beans, the touching of our feet to concrete, to grass, to floor, the singing of the bird in the tree while we taste the sweet in cereal or type at our computer. Pink roses blooming, bowing branches to the ground with the weight of their heads open in offering, become just something we pass on the way to our mailbox.

And then, it happens: We turn a corner and find ourselves in a canyon, a kitchen, a cathedral. We touch the tiny fingernails of a baby just born, or, our own. We behold the sun sink down like a pray-er to its knees and ask if the light inside itself could touch everything, and the Giver says yes. It happens — we see the very skin of the Beloved. And our souls recognize it, this depth, this grandeur, this intention, to get our attention and hear us say, “Wow,” or nothing at all. We feel it, if only for a fleeting moment. Life, abundant. What we were created for.

Wonder takes us out of ourselves, focuses us on something greater. And because we recognize the gift of being invited into what we could never be, make or attain ourselves, we feel fulfillment. We are the romanced by a lavish love — how long will we ignore it? Beauty leads to awe leads to wonder leads to gratitude leads to love. Come, let us adore it.

So, in this issue, we focus on wonder. We learn about a woman’s experiences in Southeast Missouri during the Great Depression through a podcast her grandson and his friend created, where they share the diaries she kept during that time. We read letters five women wrote to people they love that answer the question, “What is something

you’ve been thinking about lately?” And we view photos that evoke a sense of the childlike wonder we feel during the long, hot days of summer. We hope these stories help you examine your own existence and the very being of the beauty inside and around you, marveling at it in wonder, amazed again like a little child who doesn’t need to under- stand everything; it’s enough that it is.

My favorite scene from my favorite film comes at the end of Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird.” Earlier in the movie, teenage Lady Bird, while arguing with her mother, says, “Give me a number.” When her mother doesn’t understand what she’s talking about, Lady Bird replies, “You give me a number for how much it cost to raise me, and I’m going to get older and make a lot of money and write you a check for what I owe you, so that I never have to speak to you again.”

She both means it and doesn’t mean it, of course. The last scene of the movie shows her exiting a church in New York City, leaving a voicemail for her mother back in California. In it, she tells her mom the name her mom gave her — Christine — is a good one.

Lady Bird can never pay it back, and she knows it. Instead, the only thing she can do is claim her name, receive her existence as gift, and say thank you.

Thank you.

We can’t earn it. Born out of love we did nothing to merit, we found ourselves, wide-eyed and crying, here. May we keep our eyes wide open in wonder for the rest of it all, noticing, never getting used to it.

And say with our lives, Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Joy, Mia


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