I was looking at a box of sparkling mineral water at work today and it took me back to when I was but a wee child and legitimately believed such water flowed from the Earth ready-bubbly. I used to wonder where these magical sparkling water springs were located as I loved – and still do – fizzy water, as I then called it. I also used to ponder the mechanics of bottling naturally carbonated water “at the source.”
When you’re a child and the world in general is so vast and incomprehensible, you have yet to develop the incredulity of experience. Before being stripped of that innocence by the world at large, we are more willing to accept things that we don’t even know are strange. Innocence lost, and all that entails.
I also remember that when we used to go to church – as I attended Catholic school – this chimey bell would ring out when the Priest lifted the eucharist for blessing. “Well, obviously God exists, listen to that bell” I would think to myself sitting in the pew in my little school uniform. I still remember the day I noticed one of the altar boys rang the bell underneath his chair. I was crushed. I continue to think seeing that bell being rung was the first step in my long journey to atheism, but that is beside the point. The point is that to my 7 year old brain, the idea of naturally sparkling water and a magical ringing bell seemed completely within the realm of possibility.
As an adult it is very difficult to maintain that kind of openness to new ideas. Not only difficult but to a degree unwise. In children we call it innocence but in adults we often deride the same characteristic as gullibility. You have to develop a certain amount of scepticism to function in the world.
I suppose I always cringe a little when people mourn their lost innocence. It just seems a little ridiculous. As much as it was nice to be completely open to new ideas, I certainly don’t miss thinking that sparkling water came bursting from the ground in France. I think people often confuse innocence with wonder, and I try to find wonder in the world every day. Not to get too Oprah all up in here but I would definitely mourn the loss of wonder in my life. For as much as I may now be able to reason and be skeptical, there is wonder everywhere. Wonder is experiencing a moment and fully appreciating how lucky you are just to be there, and how unique each moment truly is.
Experience takes away our innocence but it doesn’t have to take away your sense of wonder.