On Gratitude and Wonder

“Here dies another day
During which I have had eyes, ears, hands
And the great world round me;
And with tomorrow begins another.
Why am I allowed two?”

 Gilbert Keith Chesterton (b. 1874-d. 1936)

I was walking near the perimeter of Franciscan Square last week with the two year old elfin-maiden at my side, when I noticed she was watching my feet, and setting her tiny red-bowed shoes to my stride.

I stopped. She stopped.

I walked three steps. She walked three steps.

It was sunny, and the golden light bounced off her curls, and the tiny purple bow which had begun the day at the top of her head, had slipped off center, and was making a descent to her right ear, but she did not notice the errant bow. Her full attention was on following my steps, and after the stepping game had played out a bit, she laughed, and laughed.

That is when it hit me: I had not invented the game, she had.

She had taken me out of my world (yes, I was worried about many things), and placed me into hers.

In her world, the inhabitants live in a perpetual state of wonder: they delight at the movement of their feet, at the sound of a truck rushing down the road, at the sight of a bird landing on a tree branch.

Her child-world reminded me of the world of G.K. Chesterton for he said in his 1936 autobiography: “[T]he chief idea of my life … is the idea of taking things with gratitude, and not taking things for granted.” He also said, “The world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder.”

Yes, every day is a gift, and we might ask, “Why am I (are we, added by SF) allowed two?” (GKC)

After asking such a question, the only response is gratitude; and since we did not make ourselves (source), and do not sustain ourselves in existence, such inquiries end in gratitude to God. Again, G.K. Chesterton summarized such a conclusion in the following: “When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?,” and “The worst moment for an atheist is when he is really thankful and has no one to thank.”


So, today, as we go off to work, or work about the house, may we remember what it was like to be a child: to notice the sky, the roadside flower, the bird in the tree; and live as G.K.Chesterton did (and children do!), allowing wonder and gratitude to touch each beat of our heart.

Have a good day!