I haven’t done a book review in awhile, but Salt to the Sea deserves one. What follows will be spoiler-free, so fear not, friends, and read on.
I’ve talked several times on here about why reading is a great pastime, and why you should read more books. But if you only read one book this summer, it should be this one. And should you survive the journey, there are always other books to continue on with.
We’ve discussed the purpose of Wonder. Now it’s time to talk about the power of Wonder. Its presence is all around us, every day, stirring us; demanding to be felt. Without it, our souls would be parched, unable to create.
The power of Wonder is magnetic, yet somehow intimidating. It’s magical, and yet to fully embrace it—to allow it to carry you into the Perilous Realm—is terrifying, because if you are going to dare to wonder, you must also be ready to let go. After all, this is the call of something wild.
Words impact us. It’s true. The things people say affect us, whether we show it or not. But what affects us even more are the things we say about ourselves.
Labels mean things. Some we identify with voluntarily, while some are cast on us by other people. Others, we adopt out of hopelessness, discouragement, or desperation. These labels sink deep into our minds and affect how we think, how we act, and what we believe about who we are.
In this culture, we’re okay with living small. We don’t like risks—especially if those risks may end up costing or hurting us. It’s scary to step out too far, so we rarely do. Living small is comfortable.
It’s difficult to break out of the mediocrity of small living: the comfort zone. Yet deep down, we long for more. For adventure. We thirst for a bigger purpose, and so we turn to stories.
What is the purpose of beauty? Every day, we’re surrounded by a kaleidoscope of enrapturing glory—magic and wonder. Questions and mysteries await us at every turn: the fabric of the universe. But what is the point of it all?
Some would say wonder is a useless pursuit—and perhaps it is, for Wonder in itself does not profit, nor is it incredibly practical. It accomplishes nothing in terms of money or shelter, and yet Wonder touches a deeper part of us: the essence of our nature; our desire to explore, create, and understand. If all we live for is profit, then wonder—beauty—is absolutely and utterly useless. And life is astonishingly empty.
This world is noisy. Everywhere, every second, something is happening—and people are talking about it. News channels, YouTube, blogs, and social media blare into our lives at a constant rate. It’s almost as if silence—real, true silence—no longer exists.
In the past, I’ve talked about the purpose of beauty: the intrinsic value of the useless pursuit of Wonder and how it fills our spirits. We hunger for it, just as we hunger for peace and quiet in this age of constant noise. But life moves too quickly, it seems, whisking away silence in its crazy storm.
Has anyone told you? You are a creative person. A thousand ideas live inside you like diamonds waiting to be unearthed, cut, and set. The act of creating; of exploration and curiosity is the essence of what it means to be human.
The thirst for wonder is engrained deeply within our souls from birth: curiosity at the wide world. And Wonder is the father of all great ideas. In spite of all this, however, we do something crazy. In spite of our innate connection to Wonder, we often feel the need for permission to create.