Stunned and Astonished

My truth telling friend and sometimes blog editor said, “You’ve become obsessed with light.” He was referring to my rather newly  found fascination with sunrises and sunsets. He’s right, although I would substitute the word stunned for obsessed. He assured me he was using obsessed in a good way.

What I’ve become is awake, awed and filled with wonder.

Richard Rohr is Franciscan priest who studies and writes on practices of contemplation, self emptying and radical compassion especially for the socially marginalized. His latest book, Just This captured my heart in Chapter 1.

Contemplation allows us to see the truth of things in their wholeness….To begin to see with new eyes, we must observe–and usually be humiliated  by–the habitual way we encounter…every moment….To allow the moment to teach us, we must allow ourselves to be at least slightly stunned by it until it draws us upward and inward, toward a subtle experience of wonder. Just This p. 8-9.

In many religions, it is a spiritual discipline to simply be awake and attentive, noticing. It is a spiritual discipline to be present in the moment you are in…aware of focusing on just this that is before us, with wonder. Julia Cameron writes, The reward for attention is always healing. The Artist’s Way p. 33.

Twice a day, the light changes dramatically, often colorfully and spectacularly. To me those light shows are gifts, bookends on the gift of the present day, glorious invitations to look up and pay attention.

Three weeks ago, our world lost a poet, Mary Oliver. She had the gift of simple words born of her attentiveness to the now, especially in nature.

From her book of poems, Felicity (which means intense happiness) she pens, Why do people keep asking to see God’s identity papers when the darkness opening into morning is more than enough? (from A Morning Poem)

Or how about this gem?

Instructions for living a life.

Pay attention.

Be astonished.

Tell About it. (from the poem Sometimes)

Rohr writes, The purest form of spirituality is to find God in what is right in front of you…what those who have gone before us call the “sacrament of the present moment.” Just This p. 32. 

God, help us be awake. Help us see. Help us be stunned, astonished, grateful…maybe even obsessed. Amen.

Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three grown children, Mimosa/Mocha to Keller and Pace, breast cancer survivor who is stunned by Light. Thank you to Kenda Diehm who captured this sunrise moment at the Soul Spa 2019 Retreat.



4 thoughts on “Stunned and Astonished”

  1. It really spoke to me that in the film “City of Angels” that the angels would stop to contemplate every sunrise and sunset. It just seemed so true. Your writing lifts me up.

  2. I, too, am obsessed with the light! It grounds me wherever I am and reminds me that each day we start fresh, wherever we are!

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