I wonder about a lot of things. I wonder how electricity actually works as well as how I can have such good intentions and end up with such poor follow through. I wonder why we aren't nicer to one another and how someone ever thought of the remote control, much less television. I wonder why when I have a bad day I want to crawl into a hot bubble bath with a novel, sometimes more than once.

I also often wonder about what goes on with other people. I saw a prayer once in a community newspaper that was a reminder (and I am riffing on this because I don't have the text any more): God, help me remember that the guy who cut me off in traffic may be racing to the hospital to see about his wife... and more petitions of that sort. I would like to always wonder if the things that others do to disappoint, frustrate, and anger me might be because of what's going on in their lives. And sometimes I do this. I imagine that there is a reason why someone says what they say or act the way they do. And, of course, sometimes I just take it personally, violating my own hopes for the way I am in the world.

I love being around people who are just naturally curious. They don't seem to work at it at all - they want to know all about you, your job, your family, your opinions, your hobbies and your rosebush pruning tips. Naturally, I love being around them partly because they give me a chance to talk about me and my job and family and opinions and rosebushes. But also because they just seem to be joyful sorts who are unafraid of encountering something alien, learning something they didn't know, hearing about something they might like to try. They aren't afraid to ask questions because they aren't afraid of what you will say back to them.

I think that bears repeating: curious people are not afraid to ask questions because they are not afraid of what the answer might be. They seem to imagine that the exchange of information will broaden and enhance their lives. They seem to imagine that listening to others is a pleasure. They seem secure in a belief that knowledge about the things that are going on with other people does not diminish their own beliefs, ideas, history, or future.

Curiosity without defensiveness, without ulterior motive. Just curiosity without fear.