Last year about this time at church, my minister, Bonnie Bardot, offered the congregation to choose a paper star out of a basket during the service. Each star had a word on them — Celebrate, Inspire, and Drive Badly. Just kidding on the last one. We were told to keep the star during the year and focus on it from time to time. Guess what star I chose? AWE
AWE - I have no idea what AWE is. Oh yes, I know the definition, but I’ve never spoken it in in a sentence. Frankly, I find it hard to say in the past tense - AWED.
The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines AWE as: An emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority - stood in awe of the king - regard nature's wonders with awe.
Some of AWE’s synonyms are: Admiration, Amazement, Astonishment, Wonder, and Wonderment. That’s cool.
But the archaic definition of AWE is even more fun — Dread or Terror. Oh my.
For the life of me, I had no idea how AWE could fit into my life.
So I went home with my star and taped it on my office wall the next day, right near the door so I would see it. And let it be. The first few months - nothing really happened. Frankly, I forgot about it.
But then something weird occurred when leaving my office. I saw the star. And it made me think of any AWE-inspiring things I’ve noticed. I started writing them down. Here’s a few:
I am awed and inspired when early in the morning after it snows, nature is so silent.
I am awed and astonished while working on their homework, I see a spark go off in my son's heads when they get a concept or a new idea - a virtual lightbulb appears.
I am awed with grace when I sit in church and genuinely feel peace during prayers. I am also awed when those prayers work!
I am awed with the genius of many people in this world who not only come up with incredibly powerful ideas and machines that change our lives but they move us forward by leaps and bounds.
I am also awed with dread when I see people in power make extremely stupid decisions that will adversely affect their citizens while clearly helping the very few stay in power and remain outrageously rich.
Finally, I am awed when I see people turn from despair and hatred and embrace our true nature of love, understanding, and acceptance.
That’s AWE to me.
Where is AWE in your life? I would love to hear from you.