The Importance of Wonder in Our Life with God

Oct 26 / Lacy Finn Borgo
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison is a National Park in our neck of the woods. When my daughters were young, we would drive the steep windy road to the bottom of it. Park our car next to the Gunnison River and camp. I loved the sound of the rushing water and the unmistakable sense of smallness that comes from peering up at more than 2,000 feet of sheer rock face.

The Black Canyon gets its name from the mere thirty-three minutes of sunlight a day afforded the bottom. It’s a welcome respite to the high-altitude intense sun that we receive year-round and especially the heat of the summer. At the bottom, the Gunnison River is crystal clear with not much dirt or detritus to muddy the waters. Wandering along its rocky banks, discovering stone and weed treasures is a favorite pastime.

On one trip, my Dad went with us. He’s a no-nonsense Vietnam Vet shaped by struggle and humbled by his extravagant love for his granddaughters. One afternoon while I napped with my youngest daughter, he and Aidan went for a walk. Aidan entered the world with a love for learning. At five years old, she gobbled up any information offered to her. She learned to honor her bent towards curiosity through actively wondering. Naturally a quiet child, she learned to speak late. Only after careful consideration of her words and hours of pondering, would she, with freedom, offer her conclusions. I heard a bit of their conversation as they wandered and wondered towards the river.

“Grand,” Aidan said, “Did you know that there is an asteroid belt between the inner and outer planets?”

“No kidding?” Dad answered matter of factly as he looked up at the canyon walls and into the sky. He took every word she spoke as gospel truth.

“Yeah, there is. These big rocks probably come from there.” She said pointing at the mammoth boulders that dotted the canyon floor.

“You’re smarter than I am, so it must be,” he said, “tell me their story.”

Later that evening over supper, Dad and Aidan recounted what they had seen on their walk. The back and forth of their shared adventure had knitted them together. But still, I had to laugh; her confidence mixed with his love led them to a massively inaccurate conclusion. These rocks didn’t come from space they fell from the canyon rim. The next day, Dad napped, and I took a walk with Aidan. Again, the big rocks were on her mind.

“Mom, these rocks are so big, they just had to come from space. I don’t see any volcanoes and they are just so big!” For fifteen minutes she continued her origin hypothesis. When natural silence fell over us and our attention was given to wildflowers I asked, “What else do you notice about the big rocks?” A simple question that launched her into new observations and conclusions.

This began our multi-year conversation about the rocks at the Black Canyon. The process of easy conversation around discovery brought us together. It was a delight to witness. Our time wasn't about right information; it was about growing relationship. I suspected that if she continued to engage with the rocks, she would arrive at truth, but truth wasn't the point. Being with her was.

On a recent trip with now nearly adult daughters our conversations came back to my mind.

I wondered what of our theological thinking might be massively inaccurate, but God allows so that we can continue in conversation and wonder with the Creator? Could it be as Paul says that “we see through a glass darkly,” but that darkness is part of the process of learning and wondering with God. (I Corinthians 13.) Accurate answers are important, but in many instances, they end the conversation. Once we arrive at the answer, we stop looking, we stop asking, we stop wondering.

Try This: Find a generous swath of time to be alone in the next few days. (I know many of us will have to lock ourselves in the bathroom. I feel, ya!) Bring along a journal and reflect on these prompts from Anthony DeMello.[1]

Notice your own process of discovery and wonder in the stories you tell. Notice God’s presence and delight in you at every step of your journey.

  • These things I have loved in life: Things I tasted, Looked at, Smelled, Heard, Touched.
  • These experiences I have cherished:
  • These ideas have brought me liberation:
  • These beliefs I have outgrown:
  • These convictions I have lived by:
  • These insights I have gained in the school of life: Insights into God, The world, Human nature, Love, Religion, Prayer:
  • These sufferings have seasoned me:
  • These lessons life have taught me:
  • These influences have shaped my life (persons, occupations, books, events):
  • These persons are enshrined within my heart:
  • Choose an ending for this reflection: A poem- my own or someone else’s: Or a prayer: A sketch or a picture from a magazine: A text: Or anything that I judge would be an apt conclusion to this reflection:

“Both what you run away from-and yearn for - is within you.” -Anthony De Mello, SJ

1 Hearts on Fire: Praying with the Jesuits edited by Michael Harter, SJ

Lacy Finn Borgo

Lacy Finn Borgo, DMin, teaches and provides spiritual direction for various organizations in spiritual formation and spiritual direction including, Renovaré, The Companioning Center and Mercy Center, Burlingame. Lacy has a spiritual direction and supervision of spiritual directors ministry for adults, and provides spiritual direction for children at Haven House, a transitional facility for families without homes in Olathe, Colorado. Her book Spiritual Conversations with Children: Listening to God Together was released March 2020. Her children’s book All Will Be Well will be released October of 2022. Lacy lives on the Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains and worships with a local Quaker Meeting.