Recently I realized I’d lost my wonder. Have you seen yours lately? I’d been having a hell of a difficult few months with a dear friend’s aging illness. I was trying everything I could to help her, but come to find out I’m not an actual doctor, nurse, social worker or clinical psychologist, though I do have some training in that last area. I’m a doctoral program drop out.

I’ve also recently discovered that in a culture obsessed with success, we all have another incognito resume filled with our failures. Bet you’ve never seen one of those! And there’s nothing wrong with failing, it’s one of life’s simple realities, but we choose not to talk about these adventures, especially on social media, as our fragile self-images crafted by our ego imagination would come crashing down, shattered by the delicacy of our invention. But back to my ailing friend.

She’d been having a gradual physical and mental decline over the course of the past several years. It has something to do with brain function and it’s been fully difficult to watch unfold. We’re waiting for the full diagnosis, but whatever it is, it kind of sneaks up on a person without them really knowing what’s happening. I’ll save the long list of challenges associated with the decline process, and cut to the end where on our second visit to the ER my dear friend was admitted to the hospital.

Suddenly, after a very long time I could breath again. In stepped the experts in each of their fields. The doctors, nurses, social workers, EMT’s and the list of angels goes on. We were finally getting to the bottom of it, and for the first time in a number of years I felt the deepest sense of relief. This was a relief I didn’t even know I needed. The pressure for me to solve, to carry, to understand was lifted, and as I took in a few seemingly new breaths, my whole world came alive.

It went from black and white to color. I could see again and the world was beautiful and full of wonder. I somehow, in my friend’s progressive illness, realized or re-discovered I was alive.

Talking to the nurses, doctors and social workers I was deeply grateful. Coming home every night after work to my partner in life was joyous. Driving in my car and seeing all the sights, the ocean, sunsets and stars was exciting. Talking to animals was on a deeper level. I swear we were understanding each other now. I even met two African Grey Parrots, an older 45 year old male and a younger 13 year old female, who dazzled me with their unique beauty and intelligence.

I was seeing this beauty everywhere, and in everyone. I was grateful for everything. I had come fully alive after a very difficult time.

My dear friend had given me a gift which was to see my life again. In caring for her, I was able to reconnect with myself, my health, and my purpose. Perhaps it was watching her recede from the world that was helping me enter into mine more fully than I had in many years.

And it was helping me appreciate loved ones, natural beauty, as well as giving me a sense of presence, and of what’s real in the world. Ministering to my dear friend was giving me a better sense of how to treat another human being, of how to care, of not walking by that person in need, but rather doing something to lend a hand however uncoordinated my movements have been. I took action, and in doing so I was rewarded with the richness of child-like wonder. Wow. Truly wow. I am present. I am alive. And I am deeply, deeply grateful. So from great challenge does come learning, awareness, and gifts. Yes, even gifts, this time the gift of wonder.

Barry Alden Clark has coached thousands of individuals in connecting more deeply with their hearts, their life purpose, and helped create a pathway for these folks to move forward in a direction more aligned with who they truly are. He & his creative partner Eliza Swords are currently delivering uplifting content on social media every Wednesday via “Best Day Ever with Barry and Eliza”, a Facebook and You-Tube phenomenon reaching thousands of people around the world. They are also inspiring love and joy through creating heartfelt and entertaining content via their production company Pure Honey Ink. Currently they have projects in development for social media, film, television and publishing. You can reach Barry at

Image courtesy of Mesut Kaya.