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Beacon Senior News

Little things that “wow” me

Apr 04, 2022 12:36PM ● By Marti Healy

“Oh, wow!” she kept saying, in that breathless sort of wonder that can be heard only in the voice of youth and innocence. 

Her tiny nose and hands pressed against one store window and then another. She pointed to counter after counter filled with candy. And then several displays of plastic eggs and scenes of stuffed bunnies and yellow chicks and woven baskets of every size. Even a stack of nothing more than colorful socks caused her to express delight. 

“Oh, wow!” she said again and again, as her tiptoes carried her from place to place, store to store, joy to joy.

She is only 2-1/2 years old, perhaps a bit closer to 3. But she is brilliantly new to the world, fresh with quickened senses and anticipation. Her name is Jane and she was visiting my neighbor—her grandmother—just before Easter. 

I was delighted when Jane, her mother and grandmother invited me to come shopping with them. I had not expected how much joy it would bring to watch Jane as she reminded everyone around her about authentic awe and curiosity. She exampled for us how to appreciate the wonders that are often at the ends of our own fingertips and tips of our noses..

It wasn’t just the sparkle and glam of the stores that caught Jane’s enthusiasm. There was also a giant ballerina statue, and leaves on the ground everywhere she looked. There was one large friendly dog by the name of Quincy, and dozens of others to meet and greet on practically every street corner. 

“Oh, wow!” she said to each of them.

I suspect that most of us have something in our lives that can still bring us to that feeling of “oh, wow!” It could be kneeling in a garden with the sun soft on our backs, or wet dog noses. Perhaps it’s the joy of creating art or music or dance. Maybe it’s a glowing sunset or the perfect golf swing. For me, it’s often old books or abandoned buildings, as well as deep silent forests and warm rhythmic ocean waves.

But I can also be wowed by the less tangible, such as hearing or reading one true thing. And the wisdom of native peoples and the very young. I can be wowed by a unique turn of phrase that makes me think, and a phrase of music that makes me cry. And there are the universal wows of treasured smells that seem to speak to all of us—like rain, and fresh cookies and bread.

Lately, however, I find that I am most wowed by unexpected kindnesses, unbridled compassion and uncontained love. I am awed by grace and generosity beyond reason, by peacemakers and diplomats.

Watching Jane that lovely day, I began to examine all the potential and deserving “oh, wows” there really are in life, if we remain open to them. And I began to suspect that perhaps they aren’t always meant just for us to experience. Perhaps there are moments and opportunities when we are meant to be the “wow” in someone else’s life. Perhaps, in the end, those are the “wows” that should matter the most, no matter our age.