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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Note (02/07/13)

TITLE: To Wonder at Things
By Shanta Richard


One spring morning as I walked down a footpath in my garden I came across a butterfly sitting on a rock. Her wings were closed and their color merged with that of the rock, so that at first she was hardly visible. I stopped and watched her and soon she opened her wings. The drab rock was suddenly transformed into a thing of beauty by the colors of cobalt blue and black of the butterfly’s wings.

As I marveled at how the butterfly had changed the whole place with her loveliness, I remembered Plato’s words, “The beginning of Truth is to wonder at things.” Many times I have wondered at things but never connected it with truth. I thought it might be a good exercise to note down everything that caused me to wonder and find the truth embedded in it. A few of my notes are as follows.

Note # 1: The gift of Joy is to be shared.
I live in a third floor apartment facing the south-east. The building is surrounded by trees and the third floor is on level with the tree tops. Thus every morning my windows open to the beauty of the brilliant colors of sunrise and to the melody of songbirds. The music of the birds intrigues me. What makes them sing with such happiness? What motivates them to share their joy in life with all nature? I learned that joy is a gift from God and the more you share it the more you are blessed.

Note # 2: Faith is to be proclaimed.
As a teenager in India I got Typhoid fever. In those days this disease had no cure except rest and diet. I remember that the most dreadful times were when I would wake up in the wee hours of the morning and be forced to lie still in bed. I used to eagerly wait for the cock to crow and announce the break of day. The cock would crow when the sky was still dark and the whole world was covered in gloom. I wonder how the cock knew that the darkness would soon fade away and the sun would rise. I think he believed that night would not last for ever and day would come. He did not keep his faith to himself. He had to proclaim it to all nature.

Note # 3: Trust is to obey
One summer our family went camping at the state park in Selkirk Shores in Pulaski, New York. There was a salmon hatching and breeding station nearby and we went visiting there. I was amazed to learn about the fascinating life of the salmon. The Webster Dictionary describes it as follows:
“The silvery salmon adults feed in the sea, but ascend rivers in winter to spawn in shallow gravel based streams. In the second or third spring after hatching they descend to the sea to feed voraciously. They may return to spawn eighteen months later.”
I wondered what made the salmon leave its happy feeding grounds in the sea to travel upstream, across the current to unknown shallows in order to spawn. Was it their response to an inborn urge, their obedience to a psychological prompting, or their reaction to the circadian rhythm? Or was it their Creator God’s plan for their lives? When God called Abraham to leave the land of his fathers and travel to an unknown destination, he obeyed trusting in God’s promise that He would lead him to a land flowing with milk and honey. The salmon was doing the same thing, putting its trust into action by obeying without question.

This is a delightful exercise and I will pursue it further, thanking Plato for his wonderful insight.

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Loni Bowden-Horn 02/20/13
The wonder of a butterfly is something to marvel at. I really enjoyed your illustrations to keep us focused on God through nature and the surrounding us.

The part that struck me was when you were in India with typhoid and you watched the sunrise every day to remember there would not always be light.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/20/13
I really enjoyed this. I'll admit when I first started reading, I wondered if it would be a stretch for the topic, but at the end decided it was a clever take on the topic. I often look around and wonder similar things. Much like the mercy Jesus gives us is the musings on the world and critters around us--endless. I think this is a clever allegory and I truly enjoyed it.
Judith Gayle Smith02/20/13