January 16, 2012

My son-in-law, Joe, picked me up at Logan Airport about 12:30 that night. We were another 45 minutes from their home in Marblehead, north of Boston. I was more than a little anxious to see my first grandchild – Isabella Rose – for the first time. She was just five days old and already a legend in my mind and large in my heart.

Elliott, my wife, was already there, of course, having flown up North for her birth and to assist Laura, our daughter, not to mention Joe. Even at that hour at night everyone was wide awake, except for Isabella, who had just had her middle-of-the-night meal and was fast asleep in her mother’s arms.

Welcoming hugs quickly gave way to Laura’s gleeful question. “Do you want to hold her?” As I gazed in emotional wonder into my granddaughter’s little face, I was truly awestruck! Taking her into my arms, I studied her tiny features. “I want to see her eyes,” I said. That’s all it took. Elliott started tickling her chubby little cheeks and calling her name. “Bella, wake up. Pops is here.” Squirming and stretching, she finally opened her eyes, and we looked at each other eye-to-eye. I was far more impressed that she was, I’m certain. The encounter was very brief as she quickly returned to her contented slumber, but I was in love!

Reflecting on that night and the days that followed over the week of Christmas, and remembering the sense of complete and utter wonder I felt with Isabella, I asked my self how long it had been since I had been so awestruck. I realized it had been a while – a long while.

It made me think. To be awestruck is to be moved by an overwhelming encounter with beauty, greatness, purity, or power. It could be something as simple as the beauty of a rose, the grandeur of a snow-covered mountain peak, the purity of an act of selfless love, or the destructive energy of a tornado, hurricane, or some other powerful display of nature and nature’s God.

I was overwhelmed by the innocence and purity I saw when I looked into Isabella’s eyes. I was moved in my heart to see the greatness of God in the frail beauty of this budding flower. I was awestruck by the power of God to create this little life in his love and likeness.

I was awestruck and now question where that sense of wide-eyed wonder has been for so long. What I’m thinking is not very flattering, but I’ll share them anyway in future posts. I doubt that I’m the only one who has somehow, somewhere lost that sense of awe in the presence of beauty and greatness.

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