Hi readers! Today I’m sharing a blog written by my friend, Ara Hamilton.
Wandering to Wonder
Do You Werifesteria?
Werifesteria – (v) to wander longingly through the forest in search of mystery
Finally, there’s a word that captures the spirit of mystics everywhere. Never mind that it isn’t in a dictionary (its origin is as mysterious as its essence). This recently trending verb tries to express something intangible, something poets have described with many words. In short, it validates a perspective of wonder.
Wonder, that feeling of unexpected admiration, drives our childhood. Do you remember? We filled our days observing our world and chasing it with questions until we quenched our awe. Perhaps you lost that thirst in adulthood, and you feel a tug of unexplained emptiness, or perhaps you embraced it in whatever field fascinated you most. Wonder is attractive. Emotionally, it makes us feel “more alive.”
I witnessed this one August night in my nine-year-old daughter. She was interested in watching shooting stars, so we conspired to sneak out of the house at 3:00 a.m. to watch the peak of the annual Perseid meteor shower. The stars twinkled sharply with no moonlight to steal their glory. My favorite moment was when my daughter grasped the incredible vastness of outer space. I had not mentioned the topic, but all the lessons she had learned connected in secret within her maturing brain to spark an unexpected epiphany. “I can’t believe how big and amazing space is!” She exclaimed. “I’m just so . . . shocked! I-I can’t even . . .” She went speechless. So did I. We stayed for an hour.
Create to Wonder
In my experience, wonder glimpses mystery. It causes me to sense the nearness of something bigger or deeper than I expected—a deeper beauty, a deeper truth, a deeper power, a deeper magic. I am forever trying to grasp that Near Deep. I am a wonder addict. It’s why I write.
I regularly discover admiration for people, places, and things, but my favorite way to pursue wonder is through my own creativity. If you ever want to rekindle a spirit of wonder in yourself, let go of control and get creative. Surprise yourself. Pursue something greater. Creativity pushes you beyond the known. Successful creativity transcends. It allows you to connect to mystery without possessing it, see it without exposing it, acknowledge it without making it answerable. It is the medium for touching God.
When I encounter wonder through creativity, I can make inspired art. Art, you see, is the expression of wonder. That’s why it’s so closely related to creativity.
Wander Toward Meaning
What’s the point of creativity? Wonder. And wonder gives meaning to our lives. This idea eludes succinct explanation, so allow me to expound with one more story.
My daughter is made of music. It’s her strongest learning method and her heart’s language. Recently, when I caught her struggling to play a piano piece, I wanted to discipline her practice. I knew what to correct, but I decided to take a new direction in conversation, not knowing where it would lead. It shouldn’t have surprised me when heart matters quickly surfaced. She confessed she was hurting because her new friend at school was manipulating and mistreating her. At that moment, I discovered a deeper, more important issue than I had foreseen. Because I had let go of what I knew and tried a new approach, I had an opportunity to help her and strengthen our relationship. I wondered at this discovery. Then I taught her about bully behavior and how to resist it.
Afterwards, she reached for her music theory book. The lesson explained that melody is a story with a musical question and answer; her assignment was to write some short melodies. It was her turn to be creative, but how to lift a heavy heart? I needed another creative solution. I suggested that she channel her feelings into her music and write a melody about her friendship. This seemed to inspire her. She wrote a few measures and was smiling again. By transforming her pain into art, she felt empowered even though her problem remained unsolved. I marveled how collaborative creativity produced meaningful expression while connecting us in a moment of truth and fulfillment.
Can we get a word for that?
Ara Hamilton is an author of fictional worlds and an explorer of spiritual wonders. When not writing, she enjoys exploring the outdoors or portals in search of fantastical beasts. Her elixir is Dr. Pepper. Check out more of her writing and speculative fiction atwww.arahamilton.wordpress.com.
Thanks for stopping in! What words have you found that make you wonder?
Sheila Parker says
I know this young lady quite well. She has always been full of wonder and creativity from which she inherited from both sides of her family. I am very proud of her! God given talents.
Ara Hamilton says
Thank you, Sheila! I’ve inherited big shoes to fill, and I’m grateful for them.
Michael Torres says
Wonderful (all pun intended) article, Amanda.
I love the non-word Werifesteria. I submit the word Sehnsucht to accompany it. C.S. Lewis in one of his tomes commented that the presence of a longing for eternity points to its reality. He references, as you so adeptly did here, how it is present in us as children.
In literature, as in film and theater, this wonder, the lack thereof, the fear of traveling to the unknown in our imagination both outside of ourselves (as we create characters and worlds they inhabit) and within us (as we explore the vagaries–the ugly and the beautiful of who we are) is prevalent in the “arts” today. It is the manufacturing of kitsch and prosaic works that we must guard against.
It takes courage and hard, oh so hard work.
Ara Hamilton says
I like your word, Michael! It’s likely wonder stirs and awakens that longing in our souls, tapping a part of us that reaches deeper than our intellect. For that reason, the arts may be the highest and the most necessary quality of humanity, both within us and between each other. But I may be bias! Here’s to the hard work of the highest form!
Andrew Budek-Schmeisser says
Ara, this is terrific, and so true. Pain does beget creativity.
I see it in myself; terminal cancer is forcing me to grapple with ultimate truths on paper (as it were), because there’s no other outlet. Talking’s too hard, and, frankly, I don’t want to discuss too much of it be email. No one wants to become a disease instead of a person.
Thus, my blog. It has been viciously hard to write, but not lately; there is a lightness in facing death, a sense of liberation that is very hard to explain yet indubitably real. It’s not an “Oh, I’m off to see Jesus!” thing (though I am certainly a Christian); rather, it’s a freedom to live and fully experience every day.
Ara Hamilton says
Andrew, I’m honored that you shared some of your experience. I can’t imagine the “places” your suffering has taken you, and I admire your bravery to make beauty out of it via writing. If you have found some kind of peace in it lately, then I wonder if you have come close to the Near Deep I have spent so many years chasing. You are honored , friend, in a place few of us will ever reach. Thank for you calling back to us with the gift of hope.
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