“Awe is a sense for the transcendence, for the reference everywhere to mystery beyond all things. It enables us to perceive in the world the intimations of the divine, . . . to sense the ultimate in the common and the simple; to feel in the rush of the passing the stillness of the eternal. What we cannot comprehend by analysis, we become aware of in the awe.” ~ Rabbi Heschel
I am the person most guilty for over-using the word awesome.
See? Despite the inflection, it’s even annoying to read.
I want to kick myself for being so lazy with my vocabulary. If someone did or said something that deserved this truly overused and underrated word, I should take the time to come up with the perfect (or close to it) word to let them know what I really think.
Because I want to trash this habit, I’ve been considering the root of the word: awe. At the heart of it, I know that awesome can’t possibly mean cool, but I continue to use it that way. To be filled with awe is to be filled with fear or dread. And although, images of 17th century monks or Christians cowering in the presence of something greater than themselves can be frightening, maybe some fear isn’t such a bad thing once in a while.
Rabbi Heschel phrases it perfectly: not analysis but transcendence, not the common in the everyday but the awe in the common. We may not search for it, but it rushes to us, looking to wake us up from the fog of distraction and busyness. I am just as guilty of being a busybody — but then, I take 10 breaths and see the world all new and shiny.
I often wonder if those who read my rambles question what this has to do with Sam. And I answer that it all does. When I choose to see the awe in our somewhat myopic days, I help him to see it too. And he reminds me to slow down and just be when I need to. And I really, really need to slow down and appreciate this time we have together.
When you barely leave the house, looking for the awe can become tedious if you let it. And then, I hear Sam laugh, I see his eyes shinning, the light sifts through our blinds (and the dust dances), we fall asleep together, a thoughtful card arrives in the mail, someone sacrifices something big or small for us — these are all little miracles. No, they are big miracles in our little life. And they help me to feel the awe that my analytic brain can’t find or even comprehend.
Some photos I love 🙂