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Last night, Francois and I had one of our usual sessions of sitting on the roof, discussing life, God, planets, aliens…the usual. It’s a nightly tradition.

He noted that most people don’t know about the things we discuss. They’ve never taken the time to study or even thought about the fact that they could. He wondered if that was endemic only of his village. I assured him it’s a worldwide dynamic, even in the most affluent societies.

Destitute societies are focused on survival. The goal is to stay alive. That’s it. More privileged societies have the luxury of going deeper, learning more, understanding more and having a greater scope of life. Their perspective is broader. The village life is almost strictly utilitarian.

You see what you see in front of you, and that’s your entire world. Life is hard, and it’s not valued as much in these socioeconomic conditions. Why would it be?

In the Western world, we value not only life, but truly living, with purpose and fulfillment. It’s a luxury we have, and even still, few choose to pursue it.

I used to know nothing about space, stars, planets and the universe. A few years ago, Francois and I began to study these elements, and we’ve been blown away by our discoveries. Our awe for God, humanity and Earth has grown exponentially.

Why? Because we know more about it, and how it works. We understand more of the scope and the grandeur. With awe, comes appreciation.

We resolved that the more we understand, the more we appreciate. The more we appreciate, the sweeter life becomes.

I find myself constantly looking for the awe in life. With every discovery, I appreciate life more.

Learn, discover, study, dive deep into relationships, travel, experience other cultures, learn a new language. Take advantage of the free flow of information at your fingertips.

The more you understand, the more you can appreciate life. That’s where the “awe” is. And that’s worth striving for.

 

6 Comments

  1. Teri @ StumblingAroundInTheLight on September 6, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    God must be trying to get thru to me…
    Seems like He is repeating Himself.

    Jared, your message here is something I keep hearing again & again, as I get sucked into the mind-numbing craziness of our back-to-school fall season. Just two weeks in, and somehow the contentment of summer has fled from my soul. I hardly notice the splendor of golden-edged leaves, in the rush to get kids to cottage school, pick up this, deliver that, juggle the weight of the world…

    Where is the AWE of God in such haste? Oh, let me not miss it!!
    Thanks so much for this beautiful, timely reminder to slow down, celebrate His wonders, in the majestic AND the mundane.

    (a similarly-themed post, you’ll probably love, from Ann Voskamp: http://www.aholyexperience.com/2012/09/how-to-cultivate-the-habit-of-focus-in-an-age-of-distraction/ )

  2. Kevin Miller on September 6, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    Thanks for the reminder and the charge Brother. And for appreciating life.

  3. Dan Miller on September 7, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    Jared,

    Funny how we recognize the irony and truth of “Ignorance is bliss.” In many ways that’s true – because once we open the door to new wisdom and understanding, we then have the responsibility for that. We can never again close our eyes to what we’ve seen or go back to our simple utilitarian lives. I can see why some people consciously choose ignorance – to avoid the responsibility of living an extraordinary life.

    I’m delighted to watch you lead others away from living small.

    • Jared Angaza on September 8, 2012 at 7:47 AM

      Thanks Dad. And I completely agree with your synopsis. Most folks are more content (not necessarily happy) to keep it safe, ignorant and comfortable. But some are compelled to learn more, experience more, understand more and strive for those awe filled moments that result in a more extraordinary life. We’re certainly in that category. And I’m grateful for that, for sure. Thanks for leading the way!

  4. Caleb Miller on September 8, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    Uncle Jared, the way you value and appreciate life is awesome. I want to be able to value life like you do. And I love hearing you talk about conversations you’ve had with Francois. It’s so cool how you and him have learned so much together. It’s interesting how he wants to learn so much, and find the awe. He seems like such a cool kid; I definitely want to meet him someday.

    • Jared Angaza on September 10, 2012 at 5:13 AM

      Thanks so much Caleb. I know that someday you and Francois will meet. You will enjoy each other’s company. You have similar hearts. And you are certainly living a life of beauty and awe up there in the mountains. Caleb, you have an appreciation for life that most others will never know. You’ve been through hell and back, over and over, and you continue to grow into a wise and caring man. Can’t wait to welcome you out to our place in Africa someday! Much love.

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