I think I’ve been very disciplined–after all, I’ve been in NYC for three weeks now, and am just now going to the American Museum of Natural History. But Saturday Jan and I braved the rain, climbed on the #11 bus, and made the pilgrimage. To anyone who has seen “Night at the Museum” it would seem familiar but not exactly the same: Teddy Roosevelt rides his horse outside, not inside, and the rotunda features NOT Tyrannosaurus rex but an even larger brontosaurus being attacked by a couple of raptors. The museum is a treasure house, filled with the knowledge and culture of the world. There’s even a special interactive exhibit on the human Brain to help us understand how and why we appreciate all this! I found my favorite display from the last time I visited–a set of diatoms hand-sculpted from blown glass. The Hope Diamond was away on exhibit, but the Star Sapphire of India was there to amaze us with its beauty.

But the exhibit that really grabbed me this time was a display on the evolution of the written word…from a simple potter’s mark all the way to this blog! (This was where I lost Jan. She wandered on and I stood transfixed at the exhibit.) There was a graphic that showed the evolution of certain letters, from primitive writing up to Latin characters. The “A” was very similar all the way through, though the early ones were tilted sideways or looked like a bird foot. “H” was similar in spirit, if not in exact form. But the one that blew me away was the “O,” which was the same all the way through. And there I stood with my mouth in an “O,” wondering at this marvel.

When you think of it, the “O” is universal, as far as I know, on every human face in the world, as a sign of wonder and surprise. After all, that’s our human role in this world–to wonder and stand in awe at this surprising universe. As Joan Chittister said, “Surprise is God’s way of saying ‘hello’.” So God said “hello” in the Word, and in all the wonderful things we saw in the AMNH. Now, we just need a couple more months to see all the rest of it!