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"I wonder ..."

I wonder …

A few years ago, I was at a week-long meeting of Quakers in upstate New York and we started every morning with a short community worship. Each day we were asked to turn to someone near us and ask an open-ended question, different every day, and all of them began “I wonder …” as in “I wonder how it might feel to… ?”  or “I wonder if you have ever … ?” At first I was shy, there were many people there I did not know, and I am not a morning person.  But that simple phrase seemed to have magic for us as a group.  “Wondering” became a welcoming invitation to imagine new things together and allowed a falling-away of discomfort. 

I know that the worship leader that week was skilled and grounded and the group was open to Spirit.  I am sure that is the basis of the magic I felt.  But in the time since that week, I find that when I let myself “wonder” about something that needs my attention - whether it is how to reach out to someone whose views distress me or how to stop water pooling on the basement floor nowhere near pipes that might leak – I come up with better ways to look at the situation.  It is different from asking “what should I do?” or “how could that be?” and it is different from expecting one simple answer.  It is opening myself, seeing the question as a prompt and not a demand, and giving myself freedom to stray from the everyday.

So I “wonder what feelings might lead her to say that?” and I can imagine what might make my feelings be different, how she might be speaking from a place I haven’t yet been.  And I “wonder why this seems like the work of a poltergeist?” and suddenly can see the sloping floor bringing tiny drips from frayed tubing to puddle ten feet away from the pipes.  

Wondering is a small change in how to ask a question.  It won’t work for everything.  But next time you are troubled or perplexed, maybe ask yourself “I wonder …” and see what happens. 


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