An excerpt from the first chapter of David James Duncan’s book “God Laughs and Plays”:
Wonder is my second favorite condition to be in, after love– and I sometimes wonder whether there’s even a difference: maybe love is just wonder aimed at a beloved. Wonder is like grace, in that it’s not a condition we grasp: wonder grasps us. We do have the freedom to elude wonder’s grasp. We have the freedom to do all sorts of stupid things. By deploying cynicism, rationalism, fear, arrogance, judgmentalism, we can evade wonder nonstop, all our lives. I’m not too fond of that gnarly old word, sin, but the deliberate evasion of wonder does bring it to mind. It may not be biblically sinful to evade wonder. But it is artistically and spiritually sinful.
Like grace, wonder defies rational analysis. Discursive thought can bring nothing to an object of wonder. Thought at best just circumambulates the object, the way a devout pilgrim circles Golgotha, the Bo Tree, Wounded Knee, the Kaabah. Wonder is not an obligatory element in the search for truth. We can seek truth without wonder’s assistance–but seek is all we can do: there will be no finding. Until wonder descends, unlocks us, turns us slack-jawed as a plastic shepherd, truth is unable to enter. Wonder may be the aura of truth, the halo of it. Or something even closer. Wonder may be the caress of truth, touching our very skin.