I am sure I had experienced it before. I just don’t remember. But the wonder moment on this day, I do remember well. I was in the second grade. We had moved in mid-year from Orlando to the tiny community of Milford, Kansas. My father had joined the Army as a Chaplain—and stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas. It was a significant change. Leaving chilly Florida in November to freezing Kansas was quite a shock. But I learned to love Kansas. And, I loved my little school, Milford Elementary. The school is situated in the middle of the quaint town of Milford, which is just outside Junction City and Fort Riley. It was an idyllic place for a young kid in 1980.
Milford Elementary was a small school, and, it still is. I vividly remember that the lunch-ladies made us finish the food on our trays. Honestly, that’s why I won’t eat green peas to this day. Horrible little things. Anyhow, the older custodian at the school was a delightful, kind man. I distinctly remember sitting at the table—trying to figure out how to get out of eating something I didn’t want—and him coming over to talk to us at the table. Remember those tables? They came out of the wall, with the benches already attached to them.
During one lunch he came up—and put a stack of nickels, maybe four or five on the table. He took a little brass cap—about the size of a plastic water bottle cap—and placed it over the nickels. I don’t remember what, if anything he said. I do remember; he lifted up the little cap…and the nickels were gone! And in their place? A little stack of dimes. Real dimes. About four or five. That’s the first moment I can remember—being astonished and experiencing the magic of wonder.
That is the only trick I remember him doing—although I imagine there were others. The school next year Ron passed away unexpectedly. As a small school family, we planted a tree in front of the school in his memory.
About five years ago I had the opportunity to return to that little school and present my show—in that same cafeteria—to the kids, teachers, and families of Milford Elementary. What an honor it was to go back and share Wonder where it first began for me.
Do you think Mr. Shady knew when he showed us that trick that one day one of the little boys watching would grow-up, overcome his facial and vocal challenges to stand on stage and share wonder with people from all over the world?
I doubt it. But Ron entertained us—I’d say even fooled us—because he cared for us. I am sure he loved our seven and eight-year-old reactions, of amazement and delight.
If this custodian understood the power of Wonder on children, imagine how much more God understands us?
Even in our doubt, shame and sorrow He is there. In our laughter, He is there. In our love, He is there. We can love because He first loved us.Even in our doubt, shame and sorrow He is there. In our laughter, He is there. In our love, He is there. We can love because He first loved us. Click To Tweet
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:7-12*
Sharing His Wonder
*New International Version (NIV)
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