Our grandson, Oliver, spoke his first intentional and intelligible words this week. He’s been vocalizing for a while, and sometimes his utterances sound like words, but we’re never quite sure. Until now.
The other day he said, several times and with clear purpose, “Oh wow!”
I didn’t see that coming. Most kids, including my own, start speaking with works like “Da-Da,” “Ma-Ma,” “No!,” and “Mine!” Apparently, the four-year-old daughter of Oliver’s babysitter says “Oh wow!” a lot, so he is probably imitating her. That takes nothing away from my delight in pondering the implications of a child’s first words being “Oh Wow!”
For children, the world, in spite of its imperfections, is an inexaustible source of wonder, beauty, joy, laughter and love. Every day is a new opportunity to say,“Oh wow!” It’s too bad that most adults have learned to replace “Oh wow!” with “Ho hum.”
In a fascinating “wow” convergence, I was telling some friends about this over breakfast on Saturday, and I learned from them that Steve Jobs’ last words were the very same: “Oh wow!” Times three.
Of course, this begs a question: To whom or to what he was responding? Jobs was a Buddhist, so he might have expected physical death to bring rebirth into a reincarnated existence. As best I can tell, and I’m no expert in Buddhism, there is no expectation of an afterlife for a Buddhist. Nirvana is achieved as a conscious freedom from suffering during one’s physical life. (Can anyone clarify a Buddhist’s understanding of afterlife?) Would reincarnation bring repeated exclamations of “Oh wow!”?
We can only guess what Steve Jobs saw or experienced, but as a Christian, I expect to see Jesus. For a Christian, life on this earth is just a tiny fraction of our eternal existence. Real life will start when this life ends. The Apostle Paul, in the context of a discussion of God’s secret wisdom, wrote, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9
Oh Wow! Oh Wow! Oh Wow!