Oct 4 2009

An Unquenchable Curiosity

Monticello flowers 52This past Thursday evening I attended the U2 concert in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Earlier in the day I decided I’d go up to Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson.  When the tour I was on got to Jefferson’s library the guide noted that Mr. Jefferson had many interests—architecture, science, natural history, etc.  She then shared a line from one of his writings, “…there is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me…”  I wanted to make sure I heard her right so I asked her to repeat the quote.  Apparently this great patriot had an unquenchable curiosity.

I have always admired Thomas Jefferson.  I remember reading where John F. Kennedy once hosted a dinner for a group on Nobel laureates at the White House.  He indicated to those present that there had never been a greater gathering of intelligence than when Thomas Jefferson dined there alone.  Jefferson truly did have an incredible mind. 

Most of us will never have a mind like Jefferson but we can follow in his steps if we will learn to be more curious.  In this sense he was almost childlike.  Children marvel at everything around them and ask countless questions.  They are eager to learn.  Unfortunately, as time goes on they tend to lose their curiosity and inquisitiveness.  Many grow old before their time.

Jesus once said that “unless you become like children you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.”  One of the things he may have had in mind here is the child’s natural curiosity and sense of wonder.  I think he found these traits commendable.  I also think that he would like to see us hold onto them.  God has provided us with a remarkable world to live in.  There is so much to see, hear, touch, taste, smell  and experience.  We’ll miss out on a lot of it if we cease being curious. 

Maybe now would be a good time to go outside and take another look at the sprigs of grass shooting up, or the autumn leaves that are falling, or the stars that are passing overhead, or the dew droplets on a spider web.  There are marvels without number waiting for those with an unquenchable curiosity and behind them a Creator who loves us all.

Monticello 676–Chuck

(I took the pictures above while at Monticello this past Thursday. Jefferson not only designed Monticello but oversaw the planting of flowers and trees. I do not know the name of the species of flower shown but am confident Jefferson would have.)