“Life. Life is God’s greatest gift.” It’s a quote from Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible. It’s a quote that I used like a billy club to beat the bushes of my stupefied Honors 11 students to flush out the ones who had actually read the assigned pages. It’s a quote I wish I had let pass undisturbed in front of their uncomprehending eyes.
It’s a truth-filled quote. A wonder-filled quote. A power-filled quote. I’m glad at their age they didn’t yet understand it.
Indeed, I myself didn’t understand it until I had been plucked from that classroom and plopped down on a hospital bed, drifting in and out of drugged consciousness while my hours-old 3 lb 14 oz baby dozed two floors down in an incubator.
It was weeks later, back on my feet after passing through my own crucible, hands submerged in a sink of soapy dishes, that I realized, with knee weakening force, the wonder of it: Life is God’s greatest gift.
Not the life we imagine. Not the life that we had before. It’s life right now that brings such a breath-stopping force of wonder. The sheer joy of being alive and able to tackle the mundane task of washing a crusted pan. A blessing.
I see it now. I breathe it now. I live it now. Life is God’s greatest gift. And what a great love He shows for us in the simplest of things:
The morning bird melody that greets me in the dawn.
The bustle of evening transition as Big Friend arrives home and dinner plates shuttle to the table.
The smile of a Little Friend who is quickly growing from two to three.
What a wonder.
Not through any quiz I could have devised in my class, I’ve learned that wonder–the real kind that can blow out the windows of a Hallmark store (full of wonder-filled sentimental cards) with its force–that wonder can only come when all else is stripped away. And then, when all you have to fill your hands is the leftover crust of dinner dishes, wonder comes in, with all the silken, heavy luxuriousness of a Dorie Greenspan flourless chocolate cake, and soothes the weary soul.