It’s probably not the best idea for politicians to slack off and smell the roses in the run up to a general election, but smelling the roses is what more of us should be doing more often. As I write, rain is falling gently on a tree outside, while classical music wafts through from the children’s bedroom. I’m babysitting for a friend. Friend’s children are making a bit of mischief – I had a conversation with them that went on far too long; they’re now overtired and one has poured water on the other’s bed – but having restored myself with ice cream and a cup of tea, all this strikes me as winsome and adorable. The tea and the rain, an armchair and some time, have done that. Small wonders. A whiff of roses.
Last night I watched a documentary on solar pulses in the universe, yet here I am 24 hours later tending to two little girls whose sole concerns are Aurora pants and wobbly teeth. When it all gets too much, or even if it doesn’t, we could do worse than ‘consider the lilies.’ Wonder small. There is mystery, marvel, poetry, artistry, complexity and simplicity in all these small things. In considering them we forget what’s taking Instagram by storm and gain perspective.
Before being condemned to die on specious charges, Socrates railed against his accusers’ pursuit of money and their failure to seek after wisdom. It is surely one of the deepest ironies that over two thousand years later, the obsession with money remains prominent, while Wisdom needs to yell to be heard in the public square. Wisdom was at the heart of public discourse in ancient Greece; she is virtually imperceivable out in the open in Western cultures today (cf Proverbs 1:20). One of the scientists in the solar pulse documentary commented on how extraordinary it was that (in human beings) the universe has evolved to ask questions of itself. I’m sure more would ask questions of the universe and of themselves, and maybe even come to answers, if they paused to take stock of the lily.
So wonder at the small, wonder at the big. Whether it’s a verse, a flower, the sky at night or a solar pulse, make time to wonder. Wisdom will come.