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By Remy Benoit

For Miss Brooke Michelle Mendoza who so warmed my life today.


  The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and
stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.
--Albert Einstein

Uncle Albert.

That is how I think of him.
When I was a child he used to be a guest occasionally on one of the early tiny screened black and white television science shows.  Gee, what was that called?  Something like What is the World? Maybe one of you out there can help me out with the name.

As a child I looked up to him with awe.
In time he became a role model for my son.
Together we have walked the streets of Princeton; walked the streets he walked, visited his classroom, taken a picture outside of what was once his home.

There was something about the gentleness of his face that intrigued me. Perhaps it was the combination of the smile, the hair that seemed to have a life of its own, and his genius that made him seem so superhuman.
There was something about his sense of awe.

A friend of mine reminds me sometimes that he is “just a man.”
I know what he means by that. He is not superman; can’t do it all; can’t be it all to everyone.
Yet the very idea of “being” – “just” a man, “just” a woman, fills me with awe.
We exist.
We breathe.
We laugh.
We cry.
We love.
We make babies.
And they breathe, laugh, cry, and love.

I was blessed to be holding a three month old little girl just a few hours ago.
Her name is Brooke Michelle, and she is beautiful.

I watched her eyes wander about the room, taking it all in, and trying to place its wonders within parameters she could understand. Just three months ago I worked with her mom all day, and now she is here visiting with us while we trim the office tree and enjoy a brunch.

Each new birth fills me with awe.

I know the birth of my two did, and still, after all these years when I look at them I am filled with the same sense of wonder.
Each new birth brings with it such a realm of possibility.

Welcome, Miss Brooke, to your new adventure.

Our prayers travel with you.

You delight us.

You bless us with your being.

We can allow awe into our lives in so many ways.

Peonies and roses offer perfumed enchantment.

Live Oaks stretch their loving arms in all directions; reaching out for sun and rain while offering a place of gracious repose.

The rhythm of the ebb and flow of the tide: so dependable, so powerful, so capable of utter destruction; so graciously accepting us to swim, to float, to boat, to cool in its salty waters.

We take so many things for granted; the sunrise, the sweet falling, cooling rain. The winds blow, gentle, strong, warm us, chill us; and yet we often forget to listen to their song, to smell their sweetness, to acknowledge their power.

We take for granted the written word that allows us to communicate, to reach out and touch each other on this invisible paper.

We take for granted the music that flows from sound systems today that were ancestored in big clumsy boxes with scratchy sounds.

We take for granted that someone meets us at a door and says, Welcome Home, or just a plain old warm Hey.

We take for granted warm, multi-layered coverings on beds high off floors in heated rooms.

We accept hot showers, hot food, chilled food, grocery stores, movie theaters, television as part of our everyday lives.

Imagine even trying to explain all these things to those of a thousand years ago.

And yet we have stopped feeling awed by it all.

Some mornings when I drive into downtown New Orleans the mist is thick, rising slowly with sunlight spilling through it. I look at this magnificent display of nature and it reminds me that this city has been built below sea level. The levees manage the waters but that too is at nature’s sufferance. It is quite possible for the rain to fall, the water levels to rise more quickly than the levees can handle it.
But this city has been here since 1718, or 1719, depending on with whom you speak and that too fills me with a sense of awe.
If you would like to know more about how we cherish this city; how we find awe in its sense of life, do visit with some of us in an anthology called, The Newest Stories from America’s Oldest Bohemia.
French Quarter.

What fills you with awe?
And when, when, when was the last time you watered your soul with it?

Take a message from Uncle Albert.
Look around for the awe.

It is there.
Like Brooke, you just have to open your eyes to it and try out your new smile:)

"200,OOO children die every week from preventable causes." Your daily click at the Child Health Site can change that.
Child Health Site.


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This item is part of historian, author, editor, and educator Remy Benoit's ongoing weblog for Veterans, writers, students, and others who believe in learning from and making history; including thousands of articles and posts and the free writing seminar, Using History for Healing and Writing.

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