#BlogElul 16: Wonder

One of the reasons I am entering an education-centric field is because I that working with kids exposes you to the wonder with which they see the world.  Everything is fresh and new to them, each new discovery about how our world works (big, small, completely unimportant – it can all fascinate a child) is a source of amazement and wonder.  Kids are not cynical, and everything is up for grabs, up for questioning.   While teaching them can be exhausting and exasperating at times, being around this enthusiasm can be contagious.  It forces you to look at the world through new eyes, to rediscover your own sense of wonder and curiosity, which is a fantastic feeling.

One of the things that never ceases to make me wonder is how intricately our bodies work.  When you get down to learning biology and anatomy, and you learn just how many things have to go right, coordinate, fire, sync, release, contract to make even the smallest movements, it’s impossible not to be filled with wonder.  It’s hardly surprising then, that one of my favorite prayers within the Jewish morning liturgy (shacharit) is the Nisim B’Chol Yom – for daily miracles. The italicized notes in my Mishkan T’Filah journal have summaries of the things we give thanks to God for each morning. In order, they are:

  • Awakening
  • Vision
  • The ability to stretch
  • For rising to the new day
  • For firm earth to stand upon
  • For the gift of motion
  • For clothing the body
  • For renewed enthusiasm for life
  • For reawakening
  • For being in the image of God
  • For being a free person
  • For being a Jew
  • For purpose
  • For harmony

I am not a morning person, and I am a long way from being able to pray coherently or meaningfully upon waking, but I try and keep these general sentiments in mind.   It’s not always easy for me, particularly as someone who has struggled deeply with feeling betrayed by their body due to chronic health conditions, but when I find myself feeling upset or frustrated with my body and it not doing what I’d like it to be doing, it helps a great deal to have the words of this prayer flit through my mind.  When I’m focused on appreciation and wonder for life, and for my body, my perspective shifts and I feel more able to move on psychologically and spiritually, which of course helps physically.  Our lives and our bodies are wondrous things, it’s just hard to keep sight of that sometimes.

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