On Awe and Praise

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It is the biggest of all oceans of the world. Its waters hit the coast daily, per minute, in between seconds. Last June 2015, my Dad, Tita Marian, and I spent one morning somewhere in Half Moon Bay, and we got to see the Pacific Ocean in a few stops. It was still cold, the sky overcast, and the waters beheld their depth and power by the waves that rolled towards the shore. How can we not take in this sight – the Pacific Ocean just meters away?

And in one more spot, by the James V. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, we were able to let our fingers touch the water. It felt like touching the whole ocean even if it was just mere drops. The experience was nothing short of humbling and exciting.

Thinking about the Pacific Ocean and other wonders of nature like vast green fields, large or small cloud formations, rolling thunder and incoming storms, tall trees, small plants, mountains had me asking: “Do we let ourselves be moved by God’s beauty in His creations?”

When I think about people too and all our layers of personality, character, and depth of emotion, intellect, and compassion, and our lives, I ask myself again: “Do we let ourselves be moved by God’ beauty in His children?”

To be moved, in this context, has nothing to do with physical placement, but rather with a change of heart or mind – no matter how small or radical the change is.

Shouldn’t we be moved by He who grew these mountains and filled the earth with oceans and seas? Shouldn’t these experiences of being in nature or being in the presence of another human being (especially someone who is dear to us) move us?

What change arises when we join hikes or don scuba gear and go underwater? What change arises when a person we look up to is standing in front of us, talking to us about his plans, his life, his day, his path through failure, his apologies?

Another question is, “Do we let ourselves?” Do we allow ourselves to be in awe, to silently or loudly express our joy for the moment of being near something or someone incredible, humble, or beautiful?

Whenever I travel back to the city from our province in Zambales here in the Philippines during dusk every Sunday, I sit in patience of what kind of sunset would unfold. I can still see in memory the violet, magenta, indigo, gray, yellow, orange, red, dark shades of colors. I can still see silhouettes of birds against this grand aerial palette. I can still see the reflected colors in the streams or puddles we passed in the great fields.

There were times I didn’t look though. I didn’t spend even just a minute to gaze in awe. Only because I may be sleeping or I’m reading a book. I wonder now of the things I should have let myself be moved by when I was too busy or lacking interest in God’s beauty. I can imagine ourselves too – being too immersed in pictures in the Internet or in chasing worldly goals that we miss the real thing, the real people around us. We are at the peak of the mountain yet we look at it mostly through a viewfinder of a camera or the screen of our phones. We are at the dinner table with family and friends with one of our relatives sharing something special to her, yet we pick at our food on the plate and not listen. Let us not be stubborn or immovable when going through forests or conversing or listening to other people.

Maybe it lies in attention. What do we give our attention to? If something does catch our attention like a passing butterfly or a child flying a kite, do we let our eyes stay and be in awe? Do we let ourselves be moved? Or do we turn our heads again and pretend as if something beautiful did not happen?

With all the bad news we hear on the television, on the radio, the newspaper, or stories from people we know today, we are called to be moved by beauty, by hope, by goodness, by things, people, and experiences that announce God’s glory and majesty.

Likewise, if our every day seems mundane and follows a dull routine, then we should all the more let ourselves be arrested by the interesting interruptions, ones that contribute to our joy and fullness.

While we are in awe, let us acknowledge the beauty of the moment, the beauty of the person in front of us. Let us recognize too our smallness, and that despite of our smallness, we are loved by the Creator of the beauty around us.

And when we are in awe, all we can do is praise and say thank you.

 

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4 thoughts on “On Awe and Praise

  1. “I can imagine ourselves too – being too immersed in pictures in the Internet or in chasing worldly goals that we miss the real thing, the real people around us.”

    Last night it got me thinking, what are the things we are taking for granted just because we are so focused on these things. Whenever these thoughts pop out I am reminded not to take the people around me for granted. Thank you for this Arli! 🙂

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  2. Yes, sometimes, although it seems petty, it can be crippling – when we think that real joy comes in being in places that we see other people are at. Let’s appreciate and live where we are right now, and that’s when we know we are not taking our lives and blessings for granted. Thank you as well, Denise! 🙂

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  3. This morning my devotion is about how God manifests Himself in His creation, and it made me wonder, when nga was the last time I stared in awe of God’s creation? (I can’t remember the last time huhu.) Thank you for sharing this, Arli, and for affirming God’s Word to me today. Your thoughts of God are beautiful. 🙂

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    • Hello, Ate Rhiza! Thank you for your comment and your thoughts. I haven’t been letting myself be moved by God’s creations lately too. It’s as if I’m just busy consuming and consuming the views but never really seeing them… Let us pray that we may be in awe of everything He has done. Thank you, Ate Rhiza! Take care always. 🙂

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