Just the other day I was in the middle of traffic and heard Louis Armstrong’s voice singing –
I see trees of green, red roses, too,
I see them bloom, for me and you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world.
As he sang to me over the radio, the tears began to flow. I looked to my left and realized that my car was placed, appropriately, in front of a Wawa.
Why does this song bring me to my knees?
Because I believe it. I believe that inspite of all our fears and tendencies for destruction, we are pretty wonderful.
I remember my father spending time with James, a man in our church who had brain damage. During the week, dad would let James hang around the church, because it was much safer than the slumlord-run apartment in which he lived. Even though James couldn’t communicate effectively, he and dad became friends. I was a middle-schooler at the time, and on Sunday mornings I feared that James would sit beside me because he had a nervous laugh that rang out through the entire service. As a seventh-grader, I needed attention like I needed another zit.
But every time James entered the church on Sunday morning, he would stand in the doorway and remove his hat out of respect for both God and my father. And it was beautiful.
I have felt the same, overwhelming sense of wonder the few times that I have seen an owl. I see magnificence in its wings, and God in its eyes. Of course, I’m sure the squirrel that the owl picked up on his way back to the nest might not agree.
I heard a child laughing with her mother at Target the other night, and each person within earshot started to smile. I believe that the sound of a small child laughing causes even the greatest skeptic to believe, at the very least, in a wonderful moment.
I know that bad stuff happens . . .
I’ve lived in neighborhoods where shootings occurred and children were beaten by their fathers. I’m not Pollyanna. In fact, I don’t think I liked one role that Hayley Mills ever played.
I’m not shutting my eyes to ebola, or earthquakes, or that woman who grabbed the last Cabbage Patch doll out of my moms’ hands years ago. I get it. I live it. But I still believe.
Because there is something magnificent about a world where people will risk their lives for each other; because I believe that death is a kind exit offered for the times when things get too painful; because I believe love is so much more enduring than hatred.
Yes, it’s a wonderful world. Even today, when I have a cold and I discovered a $5,000 expense for which I was not prepared. Even though my husband is battling cancer. Even though my father died from multiple myeloma at the age of 63. Even now.
Power Up . . .
Longevity is not guaranteed. Disease is a fact. We lose so many too young. But if we will focus on what we have in this moment — if we will listen to that baby laugh, and see that magnificent bird in our backyard, and hug somebody who needs it — then we will realize that the world provides wonderful, incredible, heart-filling moments.
And if we live in the present, then those moments will be enough.
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