Last December I met a wonderful colleague who pastors a UCC church in the Charlotte area. She shared with me her mantra-of-sorts that she uses when she finds herself dumbfounded by the choices people make, the situation surrounding her – life in general!:
Turn from judgment to wonder
I love that phrase and, I must say, it did come in handy when she and I traveled with 18 other pastors for 15 days through Palestine/Israel last winter. (You know why, right? 15 days is a long time no matter how much you enjoy the company!)
At the same time NAE shared this phrase with me I read a blog from Christine Kane about new year’s resolutions. I had read it about it on her blog previously but decided to take the plunge for the year ahead. The concept is to choose a word to guide your thoughts for the year. So my word this year has been wonder. It is way too easy for me to fall into judging. I don’t like that about myself mostly because it points to my own insecurities that seem to rise to any occasion, especially when I’m tired or stress. I put wonder as the word on my screen saver. I’ve posted wonder on post it notes in my office and on my bathroom mirror. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
What I’ve discovered is that it is a reminder to confess – to literally turn from judgment to wonder. You Hebrew scholars remember that “repent” means to turn around as does the Greek “metanoia.” In that prayer of confession we often use each Sunday morning we are literally reminding ourselves to turn around. To turn away from the stuff that keeps us from God (judgment) and turn to God (wonder).
So I’m wondering:
- why I felt the need to give that scowl to the woman who decided to stand in the middle of the Target aisle chatting with her friend and blocking my way. Could I have not just said “excuse me” with a smile rather than the scowl?
- why McCain chose Palin. Seriously. I know what my cynical self says.
- why Palin said “yes.” I sure would not have said yes (not that I was ever in the running!)
- why we can’t give credit to those who deserve it and instead take the acclamation for ourselves.
Today I’ll be doing my best to turn my judgment to wonder.