A Flash of Amazement


Last night we were flying from Boston to Phoenix. I was intently watching the BYU-Utah debacle when my EC tapped me on the shoulder. Outside, Mother Nature was putting on a show.

Our flight had been diverted around a storm, and from our side of the plane we had the perfect vantage point to watch. Flash after flash of lightning lit the sky. It was beautiful, and impressive. Majestic. What made it especially cool was that we were with above the flashes or parallel to them. I had never witnessed lightning from above. Attempts at recording it were futile, as my phone just wanted to focus on the window, but you need to take my word for it – it was spectacular.

The pilot didn’t point it out, and, as far as I could tell, nobody else was peering out their window. It was just a special treat for me and my EC. Which reminded me of one of my favorite quotes from the “other” Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movie, “Joe vs. the Volcano.” Meg’s character Patricia says this:

“My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement.”

I don’t do amazement often enough.

Last night was an exception. After watching the dramatic lighting show, I turned back to my football game and was again amazed. I was watching the BYU game LIVE, on a small screen in the seatback in front of me, as it was being beamed from a satellite to our airplane that was cruising throughout the sky at 500mph. Seriously?

Then I was amazed at the two “targeting” penalties, but that is not the kind of “amazement” I am referring to here.

Suddenly everything was amazing to me. The fact that hundreds of people were hurtling through the air in a metal tube. The fact that it can even get off the ground. The fact that we had the ability to show such faith and trust.

I was amazed at the beauty we had witnessed in Maine the past week. Case in point:

Maine Coatline

I was amazed at the lady working at the lobster shack when she asked me “Why on earth would you come here for a vacation?” I was amazed at when she said she had always wanted to go to…wait for it…Arizona. What?  Funny what we go searching for. I was amazed at how tasty a lobster roll can be.

The love of my life has loved me for 30 years, If that’s not amazing, I don’t know what is. I’m amazed by how fast time goes. I’m amazed at the goodness and depth of my family. I’m amazed God trusts me with them.

I am amazed at how big the world is, and how many people there are. I am amazed at how blessed I am to be alive when and where I am.

Sure, I could just as easily been worried about hurtling through the air, or thinking about flying out of Boston Logan on the day before the 9/11 anniversary. I could focus on how uncomfortable the seats were. (But after last week’s adventure, I wasn’t complaining.)

Instead, I enjoyed my flash of amazement. If anything, I should make a conscious effort to do it more often. Positive amazement is wrapped around the ideas of humility and gratitude – perhaps a reflection of both.

“I Stand All Amazed” is one of the great hymns for a reason. It resonates with us as we grapple with what is most serious and most important – and also most difficult to understand. The Atonement of our Savior is vastly more amazing that TV on an airplane.

As I am sitting here typing this, I have been watching my fingers – not because I need to, but it is fascinating to see how fingers and hands work – and how by pressing on these little keys, letters pop up on my screen that form words, then sentences, then paragraphs. Those paragraphs become a post, and as if by magic, the thoughts in my head are now spread throughout the world to anyone who wants to read them. Amazing.

Next time you have a free moment. I invite you to have a flash of amazement. It’s good for the soul.




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  1. I’m amazed whenever I think about my garden. One tiny tomato seed can grow into a large plant that produces many more tomatoes. One small zucchini seed grows a huge plant and probably more zucchini than you can use. And an apple tree blooms and grows apples without fail, year after year after year.

  2. It is good to ponder and be amazed. In pondering, I found myself humming and then softly singing “Amazing Grace” which always brings a bit of light into my soul. Thanks brother, for the pathway of thought today.

  3. I teach piano lessons and am amazed every time I take the time to think about the process: that I can look at a page full of lines and dots and convert it into information about music that my mind then nearly instantaneously converts into instructions for my fingers or voice to carry out to produce sound. Or even just regular old reading- I can see a set of symbols and, without even having to consciously think through my mental files to compare letters and group them into words, I can find meaning.

  4. It strikes me that when Enos asked “Lord, how is it done?”, he must have been asking in the kind of amazement you talked about here with reference to the Atonement.
    Thanks for the encouragement to be more positively amazed at the wonders God has granted us!

  5. It all boils down to looking at the world through the eyes of a child, or like a child. Quite often I’ll start the ball rolling in my head, and it’s hard to stop: I’m amazed that with all the things that CAN go wrong with the human body, that’s I’m as healthy as I am! I’m amazed to think about how many people it involves to allow me to have and do anything…someone made the sheets and pillow cases I slept on, and someone made the mattress/box springs, and someone made the carpet under my feet, and someone made the wood floor below, and someone made this house, and someone made this sink, mirror, pipes that bring in the water, someone made this blow dryer, I’m amazed that these little thin, soft plastic thingys I pop in my eyeballs every morning allowing me to SEE! Without them my sight is 20/700 & 20/500 respectively. I’m amazed that I can pop these other funny little thingys in my ears and hear the clock ticking on the bathroom wall next to me.; in the kitchen, some farmer grew everything I have here to eat, someone made these bowls and plates, someone made…someone made..someone made. The list just never ends…Then I get outside…and look at all of God’s creations! Everything, including the people that made everything mentioned above, and then truth says, all those people worked and put together different materials to make those things, where it was God that made the original materials in the first place. We are so indebted indeed. Thank you for a great article, as always.

  6. I am still constantly amazed that Heavenly Father thought of EVERYTHING and it is all to make us happy.

  7. Life is amazing! As I hold my one month old g-grandson, I am reminded of the amazing miracle of birth. As I drive across this Arizona desert, I am amazed at the beauty and the endurance and fortitude of my parents and their families for learning to live here and survive. When I head up the mountain to enjoy a couple of days, I amazed that our Heavenly Father knew we needed a special place to escape the beautiful desert.

  8. My most recent flash of amazement came today as I sang the sacrament hymn and felt His Amazing Grace once again in the blessings of the sacrament ordinance.

  9. I am amazed that I was able to navigate my life till this point. I am amazed that I have been blessed so abundantly with amazing people at key points in my life that have made all the difference. I am amazed that my kids are so good despite my best efforts to screw them up. I am amazed that I get to eat bread and water in symbolic reference of renewing my commitment to follow the Savior. I am amazed that taking tiny little pills can have such a profound impact on the body. I’m amazed that I got to meet and become friends with the famous MMM. I’m amazed that through that friendship, many other people entered my life and have changed me for the good. And those same people have given me a plethora of new experiences and fun memories. Ok I think I’m done…..for now.

  10. I just need to let you know how much I enjoy your posts. I don’t know how you know what to write at the time that I need to read them. Your words soothe my soul, they remind of happy times, and they inspire me. Thank you for sharing your life, thoughts, and when the Spirit prompted/inspired you. I truly thank you.

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