Wonder and curiosity from a humble heart
Behind my laptop on my table at home is a vase bearing baby’s breath, tiny white flower balls in bunches perched at the end of long, fragile branches. They came as part of a huge bouquet of yellow roses gifted to me by friends Jean and Mike, four months ago. The roses dried up two weeks after their full bloom from shy buds to fully opened petals. But still here, four months after I received the bouquet, are the baby breath flowers. Though the top part of the branches have turned brown, the bottom part submerged in water are staying green. The flowers look like frozen little snowflakes. I call them angel puffs.
The angel puffs amaze me. None dropped, none dried, while the rest of the flowers they came with had morphed to crumbly pieces three months ago. So, I wonder, and I’m curious why.
Wonder and curiosity, the very words that stood out for me from a teaching I heard last Sunday. Pastor Paul Taylor of Peninsula Bile Church in Palo Alto, CA delivered a compelling message on faith and science based on scriptural passages. Mentioning quotes from philosophers, he unequivocally proposed the rationale for the reconciliation of faith and true science that doesn’t overstep its boundaries. A surprise perhaps to many, faith and science do not contradict each other. His sermon is part of a series of messages and discussion insular to the theme, finding God. While science attempts to answer the how of creation, faith answers the who and why, Pastor Paul said, answers that lead to God.
God manifests Himself in all of His creation, and if we search for Him with a sense of wonder from a humble heart, recognizing the limitations of our finite mind, our curiosity will find Him. So, as I sit here, awed by the baby breath in front of me, wondering how the tiny puffs stay white and firm through all these four months, my faith answers my curiosity with this – God created this baby’s breath, clusters of dainty angel puffs looking fresh and fragile after all these months, that I might enjoy their natural beauty and be amazed at this elegant work of art, and praise the One who created it, for my pure delight.
More wonders: little children
Still riding on that sense of wonder as I write this blog, I recall the fun I had playing with a seven-month-old infant at my sister Susan’s party last Saturday. Baby Gaby, at first stingy with her smiles, burst out with a gurgling chuckle when I stroked her chubby legs. She was gigglish, to my surprise. I was especially delighted when she started to make soft sounds as she looked straight into my eyes as if in conversation. I responded with gentle uh-hus and ohs, nodding my head slowly as if to say, “I understand”. Then I said, “Tell me more”, and infant Gaby would tilt her pretty head to one side, her expressive almond eyes still fixed on mine, as she strove to make her gentle staccato voice a bit louder, maybe, to press a point.
In my sense of wonder at this amazing Gaby, I marveled at God’s creation, so magnificent and intelligent, even at this infant stage. What thoughts were running through her mind, as she mumbled sweet staccato sounds? My marvel meshed with my curiosity, but I was content enough just to play with her that moment. Yet I imagined – if I could only understand her thoughts through her mellow utterances, I might have had a most interesting and intelligent conversation with her, and be awed by her eloquence.
At the other side of the room was Gaby’s two-year-old sister Julie, regaling guests at the party with singing complete songs, with perfect melody and lyrics, from 12 different children’s picture-songbooks. Not yet able to read, but she appropriately turned every page of the songbook to match the lyrics of the song. So young, and how could she have memorized the lyrics and the tunes? We all wondered, and we were curious. Another beautiful, magnificent creation of God.
Welcoming a phantom in the kitchen
My grandson Eliott showed me a robot cooking in his home’s kitchen. On top of the square table sat a machine busily stirring pieces of chicken in a large pot. Four ingredients in plastic containers were stationed beside the pot. It was fascinating watching the hand of the machine moving back and forth and round about inside the pot to evenly cook the meat. A couple of minutes after, I saw the container of vegetables picked up by another lever that poured the contents into the pot. Then water drizzled into the mixture from above the machine, followed by salt and pepper the measure of which had been determined by the programmed recipe. The dish? Ramen soup!
Eliott explained that the ingredients were manually prepared and placed in the containers. The contents were individually poured into the pot by the machine and cooked according to the programmed protocol. Cleaning of the pot and containers also had to be manually done. I won’t mind the manual part of the procedure, as long as the robot cooks a good meal. And the meals have been great so far, my grandson said, like the delicious pancit (Filipino noodle dish) the family ate the other day. Definitely an efficient assistant in the kitchen for my daughter-in-law Natasha.
My son John was given the machine to beta test it. The robotic company owner reached out to him through a mutual friend. What a valuable addition to the home! It cooks the entrees while the family chef is allowed to attend to something else or, better still, just to sit and wait. Hmm … I’m interested. Wonder when it’s going to be on the market.