Road tripping across the US is no joke. People warned us.
But here’s what literally kept us sane while simultaneously enjoying one another in the car for way too many hours at a time:
We downloaded the audible book, Wonder by R.J. Palacio.
And it was freakin’ magical. Something about listening to the story unfold while we drove through the deserts of Flagstaff, lunched at my friend Sarah’s in Albuquerque, and breathed in deep the emerald carpeted lands of Oklahoma. We literally finished the book – tears rolling down my cheeks, my leg up – driving into our new home state of Tennessee
It was as if Wonder was ushering us into an awe-filled chapter.
A chapter of kindness. A chapter of fresh starts. A chapter of trusting scared and seeing past people’s appearances and into their hearts and stories.
At the end of the book (spoiler alert) August, the main character, a young boy with a facial deformity, his mama tells him that he’s a wonder. A wonder to their family and all who know him.
Wonder, by definition means a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.
After his first year in a public school, August is awarded “the Henry Ward Beecher medal to honor students who have been notable or exemplary… to the school” by his principal, Mr. Tushman.
During the graduation ceremony Mr. Tushman quotes from The Little White Bird: “Shall we make a new rule of life… always to try to be a little kinder than is necessary.”
Isn’t that beautiful?
Kinder than is necessary. Principal Tushman goes on, “Because it’s not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed… it reminds me that we carry with us, as human beings, not just the capacity to be kind, but the very choice of kindness.. What is being kind, anyway?”
He picks up another book and reads from Under the Eye of the Clock, about a boy who helps a kid in his class: “It was at moments such as these that Joseph recognized the face of God in human form. It glimmered in their kindness to him, it glowed in their keenness, it hinted at their caring, indeed it caressed in their gaze.”
Mr. Tushman “closed the book… and leaned forward on the podium. ‘Children, what I want to impart to you today is an understanding of the value of that simple thing called kindness… If every single person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary- the world really would be a better place. And if you do this, if you act just a little kinder than is necessary, someone else, somewhere, someday may recognize in you, in every single one of you, the face of God.'”
I mean, yes!
Kinder than necessary. Regardless if people are kind back, or you happen to live (like here) in an extravagantly kind culture. Be unnecessarily kind, for everyone is going through something and kindness may be the healing gift that helps their soul and story feel seen and known.
So as we drove the back roads, and our boys were like, ‘Mom stop going on about every barn and house we see,’ I couldn’t shake the feeling of wonder and how I want our home to embody just that; awe, fascination,
I want our family to live in anticipation of the unexpected, to be curious about every person we meet, to be filled to the brim and overflowing with awe.
Awe of what today brings.
Awe of people.
Awe of God colliding with real life.
Awe of wonder.
So please imagine yourself invited into our Wonder Home.
You are are welcome.
Come as you are.
How about you? What does your home mean? What do you want people to experience when they step foot inside? What stories are you telling? What conversations are you having? What questions are you asking?
May wonder be at the heart of your space.
And may it be decorated with unnecessary kindness.