Word of the Week

When You've Just Got to Say Wow

This week I've been reading Anne Lamott's latest: Help, Thanks, Wow. It's a book about three essential prayers that Lamott says are necessary for all of us to go back to over and over again. Saying to God, "Help!" "Thanks!" and "Wow!"

The first two sections were typical Anne Lamott good-- honest, raw, and real. So real that her words make you want to figure out how to write like this in your own voice.

But the third section has captured my attention in way that I think we don't talk about enough as people of faith: Wow!

Lamott writes: "The third great prayer, Wow, is often offered with a gasp, a sharp intake of breath, when we can't think of another way to capture the sight of shocking beauty or destruction, of a sudden unbidden insight or an unexpected flash of grace."

And when you put it like this, I don't think we don't know how to say wow. Sure, it's a simple enough word, but I can't think of the last time I heard it in a conversation.

Maybe it is because we don't know how to stop.

Maybe it is because speechlessness as a prayer doesn't seem to equate to "real" prayer in our minds.

Maybe it is because we are people who like to rush on through to the next project, the next meal, the next adventure that we keep our eyes shut to "Wow" most of the time.

This week as I've been traveling with the team from Feed The Children in Guatemala, there have been a lot of wow moments.

The children getting a book for the first time.

The smiles of the mothers.

The lake.

The sunshine.

The birds (and flying beatles) waking us up in the morning at sunrise.

As we've been thrust out of our normal day-to-day routines saturated in the beauty of a country with lush hills and valleys, colorful clothes and flavorful foods, it is much easier to say wow. Especially as we've served meals to children with the sparkle of gratitude in their eyes for a simple plate full of tamales, rice and beans, you just can't help but smile in wow!

But I don't think you have to go out of the country or into a new experience to have a "wow" moment or to offer up a "wow" prayer. Such opportunities are all around us, I believe.

Our children learning to say please.

Waking up before our alarm goes off.

An unexpected invitation to dinner.

A card of thanksgiving.

What about you? what is making you say "Wow" where you are today? Here's some photos of mine.