Wonder for Writing – A New Year Resolution


Brennan Manning quote

“Our world is saturated with grace, and the lurking presence of God is revealed not only in spirit but in matter – in a deer leaping across a meadow, in the flight of an eagle, in fire and water, in a rainbow after a summer storm, in a gentle doe streaking through a forest, in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, in a child licking a chocolate ice cream cone, in a woman with windblown hair. God intended for us to discover His loving presence in the world around us.” – Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

The gift of writing is a certain grace, and it begins – in many ways – with a sense of wonder. A writer takes in the sweetness of the world, and the pain, the joy and the sorrow, the windblown moments of awe and the heart-catching times of silence. The task, the duty, the privilege of a writer is to see it all. To look upon the beauty and the shame of the world and of us who live within it, and write with wonder and fearlessness for the sake of that world. For the sake of us who live within it.

Writing, and those words written, are a dispensation of wonder … or they can be. When the words are riveted with grace, fastened with that ever-deepening sense of awe and gratitude, the result is beauty for the world. A ray of light. Of truth. But it begins with eyes open, and a heart seeking the sweet exchange of God and nature. Seeing His fingerprint, ever so lightly, tracing all things within the world. The opening and closing of a blue butterfly’s wings as it rests upon a daisy. A stone beneath the ripples of a stream, its colors brought to life by the waters. A child’s trusting smile at the promise of a loving parent. A writer is beckoned to move slowly enough through the world to see these things, to reflect on the story whispering beneath the sight, and to write of them.

A New Year begins. It begins when I feel as if the past year has charged past without me having taken stock of it. But it is gone. So many moments of raw beauty and wordless wonder passed by. How many did I miss with my eyes closed, or my gaze fastened upon the weight of my daily tasks and concerns? Too many. Too many for a writer who feels the beckoning of truth and light and wonder and grace … but only when I stop and take the time to truly look and listen and see.

A New Year begins, and it begins with the desire to see the world with wonder anew. For my sake and for the sake of my children and husband. For the sake of a God of love, who dispenses cupfuls of color and joy and laughter at every step of nature and asks us to behold His glory. And to measure it out freely to the world. The measure of a writer is her words.

God, this year, let my words, my thoughts, my writings and my deeds, whisper the weight of Your glory and love, and bring glory to You. It begins with a sense of wonder at all You do and all You are. Let me move slowly, breathlessly enough to see Your works with eyes of awe and gratefulness for all that You are. Amen.

A Jingle of Words 


Don’t you love the common words
In usage all the time;
Words that paint a masterpiece,
Words that beat a rhyme,
Words that sing a melody,
Words that leap and run,
Words that sway a multitude,
Or stir the heart of one?

Don’t you love the lively words—
Flicker, leap and flash,
Tumble, stumble, pitch and toss,
Dive and dart and dash,
Scramble, pirouette and prance,
Hurtle, hurdle, fling,
Waddle, toddle, trot and dance,
Soar and snatch and swing?

Don’t you love the lengthy words—
Subterranean,
Artificial, propagate,
Neopolitan,
Revelation, elevate,
Ambidextrous
Undenominational,
Simultaneous?

Don’t you love the noisy words—
Clatter, pop, and bang,
Scrape and creak and snarl and snort,
Crash and clash and clang,
Crackle, cackle, yowl and yap,
Snicker, snare and sneeze,
Screech and bellow, slash and howl,
Whistle, whine and wheeze?

Don’t you love the colourful—
Amber, rose and gold,
Orchid, orange and cerise,
Crimson, emerald,
Purple, plum and lavender,
Peach and Prussian blue,
Turquoise matrix, jade and jet,
Hazel, honeydew?

Yes, with just the common words
In usage everywhere,
You can capture incidents
Beautiful and rare.
In words you have a weapon
More mighty than a gun;
You can sway the multitude
Or stir the heart of one.

—Betty Scott Stam