Wonder Takes Our Breath Away


“What can we say beyond Wow, in the presence of glorious art, in music so magnificent that it can’t have originated solely on this side of things? Wonder takes our breath away, and makes room for a new breath. That’s why they call it breaktaking. We’re individuals in time and space who are often gravely lost, and then miraculously, in art, found.

“In art, we feel the breath of the invisible, of the eternal – which Elie Wiesel described in Night as “that time when question and answer would become ONE.” Wow, what horror that man saw, and what beauty, truth, and silence he still managed to create from it. In paintings, music, poetry, architecture, we feel the elusive energy that moves through us and the air and the ground all the time, that usually disperses and turns chaotic in our busy-ness and distractedness and moodiness. Artists channel it, corral it, make it visible to the rest of us. The best works of art are like semaphores of our experience, signaling what we didn’t know was true but do now.”

From Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers, by Anne Lamott.

Painting and photograph by Ellen Blum Barish.