The 7 wonders of life
We've all heard of the Seven Wonders of the World. Most of us couldn't name them all. I couldn't, so I Googled and discovered I hadn't even heard of some. Embarrassing, I know.
Unfortunately, I'm more familiar with embarrassment than the Seven Wonders of the World.
Actually, it's more complicated than one list of seven wonders.
The original list was compiled eons ago, in years B.C. Most of those wonders don't exist anymore. Since then, various entities have compiled various lists of various seven wonders, so there isn't one definitive list anymore.
All of these wonders got me wondering. Not about wonders of the world, but wonders of a more personal nature — ones we all experience as part of the human condition. If we were to choose a lucky seven, what would they be? My list is by no means an end-all, but I thought I'd give it a try.
The wonder of trust is one of the first wonders all mini-humans experience. We are created with a need to trust in others. We are literally born into the role. It's a big thought put into practice by tiny beings.
Another innate and initial wonder is that of touch. Before entering this world, single-birth babies have never experienced touch, yet it brings them almost immediate gratification moments after entering the world as they are calmed by the warmth and softness of a mother's chest.
Our need to trust and touch one another often develops into the wonder of love. Love is a wonder, not only because it creates a bond linking two beings, but because love can take numerous forms. There is love for the family, love for friends, romantic love, platonic love, love for a pet. Love can come and go or it can remain for a lifetime, but the bond between humans and the people and pets they love is life-sustaining, nearly as much as the air we breathe.
I'm a big proponent of kindness, so I'm going to include it on the list. Kindness is best when put in action. The other day while in the checkout line, a woman in front of me left her place in line (along with her cart, purse and phone) to help an elderly woman with a cane who wasn't able to open the door to enter the store.
When the helpful woman returned to her place in line, the cashier said, "That was nice of you." I found the helpful woman's response simple and profound.
She said, "There's always time to be kind. Someday, I may need someone to open the door for me."
I love a good joke, hence the fifth on my list: laughter. The health benefits of laughter are numerous and well documented. But the real wonder lies beyond that.
Laughter is an innate human response. We aren't taught to laugh; it is part of our universal human vocabulary and is practiced and understood by people of all cultures. I could go anywhere in the world and my laughter would be understood. Laughter is contagious. It builds bridges between people. Like touch and trust and it binds us together. We were all born to laugh — no joke.
What would a list of wonders be without the most obvious of choices: wonder itself. It's a magical word steeped in meaning. Wonder is rooted in curiosity with branches of amazement, admiration and expectation. It is the experience of beauty in the here and now with an eye for more in the future. Wonder keeps us guessing and more importantly hoping.
Finally, I offer you the wonder of forgiveness. While perhaps not as alluring as love or as captivating as wonder, it is a gift we give ourselves because it frees us from anger and resentment that can trap us in an unrelenting grip.
To forgive is to live a deliberate life — one where you make intentional choices with the future in mind. It allows you to move forward; to be open to the other miracles in life like trust, touch, kindness, love, laughter and even wonder itself.
And that can be not only wonderful, but wonder-filled.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.