Living life amazed.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

I live an amazed life.

Please note that “amazed” is not to be confused with “amazing.” Although “amazing” is a fitting adjective for a life as blessed beyond what one could possibly deserve as mine is, it has almost nothing to do with what it means to be amazed. “Amazing” is a matter of opinion. "Amazed" is a deliberate choice.

To best understand "amazed," I think it would help to clarify what it is not. I'll use my high school biology teacher as an example.

If "un-amazed" was in the dictionary, her staff picture would be next to it. Her approach was typical of the attitude that almost all of us adopt by default (myself included) as we are slowly introduced to a world where everyone acts as though the fact that the universe exists and we are alive in it is entirely customary. She probably comes to mind because her perspective is particularly evident when teaching something as truly amazing as biology.

Like my classmates, biology blew my mind. Not in an amazed way, but in the I’d-rather-walk-home-in-the-Florida-sun-than-sit-here-until-the-bell-rings-and-I-have-a-ride way. Did she open our eyes to the delicate intricacy of the human reproductive system? The wonder of the self-cleaning and healing machines that are our bodies? The baffling mystery of the human brain? Did she invite us to marvel at the fact that hair is made out of the same substance as fingernails that the heart produces enough pressure to project blood at a distance of over 35 feet... or the reason that you can’t tickle yourself is that your brain identifies you as a non-foreign object and gives you away (I find this extremely interesting)?! 

You can probably guess where I'm going with this, and that the answer is "no."

What you may not have guessed, however, is that she seemed to go out of her way to indelibly instill the opposite. I can still see her small freckled hands wave through the air and her dark eyes roll around behind her glasses as she fanned our disenthralled expressions. “Look, kids, science is pretty common sense stuff. For example, [proceeds to explain a variety of biological processes with unpredictable outcomes in exquisite detail]---and I mean, of course. How else would it work? It’s nothing special, just like there’s nothing special about the fact that you’re a male or a female; your body just whimsically made the decision one day while you were developing in your mother’s womb (SEE: scientifically incorrect information), and how you got there wasn’t really a big deal, either. No need to be amazed or surprised by any of it---it’s all very ‘duh.’” Yes, seventh period of sophomore year was very inspirational.

Despite the efforts of my quality education, I managed to discover an awe-inspired existence. But my heart goes out to my old biology teacher. What a drab take on the mysterious miracle called life! She unknowingly robbed herself---and so many young minds---of so much wonder

Life blows me away on a daily basis.

I’m intrigued by the variety of human beings; their experiences, their senses of humor, the flecks of color in the irises as unique as the snowflakes they catch on their tongues or the prints etched on their fingertips. How we’re all so similar in many ways---and yet, somehow, one person could hardly be more diverse from the next. 

I can’t help but marvel at the perspective and ability of a 19th century impressionist, for example, and simultaneously at my own belief that we’re all equally talented in distinctive, sometimes-undiscovered ways. 

I’m amazed by nature’s consistency and unpredictability.

I am floored by how two instinctively selfish, entirely different human beings can form a lasting relationship that defies their nature with the help and strength of a supernatural love.

And because my point just wouldn't be complete without a bit of astronomy: Neuron stars are so dense that a soup-can full of their material would have more mass than the moon. Black holes produce so much gravity that even LIGHT cannot escape. And if the sun’s energy could be harnessed for one minute, it would suffice the entire world for a year

But, you know. It’s all pretty “duh.”

Although I like to think my biology teacher's case of "un-amazedness" is extreme, the tragedy is that her approach seems to be the norm. 

I’d rather be enchanted. I’d rather keep my husband amused with my wide-eyed, breathless smiles of awe over the seemingly commonplace. I’d rather feel grateful, humbled, and small. 

I'd rather be amazed.


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