In the movie Joe Versus the Volcano, a man (played by Tom Hanks) believes he is dying of an incurable disease. He agrees to travel to a South Pacific island to throw himself into a volcano to satisfy the beliefs of the superstitious island residents.
But as he travels there, he . . . wakes up.
“Almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to . . . only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement.”—from Joe Versus the Volcano by John Patrick Shanley
Total amazement happens often enough. But, constant total amazement? Much more challenging.
Usually, we need jarring events to awaken us. Power outages jolt us into amazement electric lights—the ones we flick on without a thought.
A broken leg—or even a cut on a finger—painfully reminds us of the wonder of a healthy body.
How about the device you’re reading this on? Isn’t the technology totally amazing?
We need to fall asleep to the amazement sometimes, just so we can function. After all, somebody has to do the dishes. If we lived in constant total amazement, we might get no farther than our bedroom doors every morning, or the park bench on a sunny afternoon. Because constant total amazement stops us in our tracks.
Perhaps John Patrick Shanley was right when he wrote those words for Joe Versus the Volcano. Maybe almost the whole world is asleep, just so we can get the dishes done and the lawn mowed.
But maybe, if we think about that, it will prompt us to wake up at least some of the time, maybe a little more often than we usually do. It’s a start.
What is totally amazing around you right now?
In the photo below you can see that my son is doing is best to live in constant total amazement.