Once I planned to write a book of poems entirely about the things in my pockets. But I found it would be too long; and the age of great epics is past.
G. K. Chesterton∗
There are three things that are too amazing for me,
four that I do not understand:
the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a snake on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
and the way of a man with a maiden.
It’s an intimidating thought: to write a blog about marital relationships, week by week, month after month. Could I possibly keep it up, year by year? Blogs come and go. The great aspirations of the masses filling imaginary coliseums of would be famous authors writing their glorious thoughts only to wake up bored or indifferent or with nothing more to say.
I’ve read G. K Chesterton, the great Catholic English author of the early 20th Century, off and on over the years and whenever I do I get lost in wonder. He was the consummate observer. He took the average and made it marvelous. He invites us all to look, too see.
He tells a tale in his first essay “Tremendous Trifles” in the book by the same name (see footnote. This book is available online at Google Book), of two boys playing in the small courtyard of their house with red daisies and grass, when a fairy, disguised as a milkman, happens by and tells the boys they can have any wish they want. One boy, Chesterton names Paul, asks to be so tall that he can stride the continents to see the great mountains and Niagara Falls. Immediately he is taller than the clouds and he walks the continents in minutes and sees the puny Himalayas and finds Niagara Falls a mere trickle and finally lays down to sleep on several prairies in complete boredom, only to have his head chopped off by a terrified “intellectual backwoodsman” while he slept.
The other boy requests to be an half-inch tall and he is immediately surrounded in the courtyard of his house in a world of wonder with vast forests of green and colors beyond delight and his world is yet to be discovered it is so huge. There is so much to see. Chesterton offers he’d rather be a Peter the pygmy then Paul the Giant and writes:
The world will never starve for lack of wonders; but only for want of wonder. +
This is of great comfort to me. I sit as in the courtyard of my office and listen and interact and think and dialog with couple after couple, individual after individual, each artistically painting a canvas of their lives. I’m looking, listening, learning, thinking of this great mystery of a man and a maiden. How in the world this can be? How can it be so incredible? How can it be so painful? What are the missing ingredients? What is working? What doesn’t work? How did you learn to trust your husband after that? How did you come to decide to reach out to your wife? Where was the breakdown? When did it unravel? What was going good before? What is going good now? How did you heal? How did you go from fighting to camaraderie? Patterns emerge. Tendencies come to the fore. But some secrets still lie unknown. So I ask some more. I’m sitting at their feet. They teach me so I can teach others.
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.
Lord, help me to never cease to wonder. Help me to see the unseen. Help me explore this garden, to see the grass as trees towering to the skies and the daisies as splendor, scarlet sunsets on the horizon. Keep me small enough so I can ponder and never so big that I’m bored with the everyday.