I had to look of that word astonish just to be sure I can accurately describe things as they happen.
Let's take a quick looky at the definition:
mid-14c., astonien, from O.Fr. estoner "to stun, daze, deafen, astound," from V.L. *extonare, from L. ex- "out" + tonare "to thunder" (see thunder); so, lit. "to leave someone thunderstruck." The modern form (influenced by English verbs in -ish, e.g. distinguish, diminish)
Honestly, it's pretty hard to feel astonished! But feeling astonished in a good way has come to me several times a year singing Sacred Harp songs. I think I've been singing with the crowds in Chicago for about 2 years. If you haven't heard of it listen to this BBC story-I hope the link doesn't fail me!
The Alabama singers do "Brethren we have met to worship (Holy Manna) around the 5:30 minute. The wiki link has a song you can listen to, as well. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_Harp
It's pretty amazing to sing with a group of a hundred or so singers in the square. I'm a hearty alto and proudly sit in the last row in my group to watch everyone singing together. Here are some really great lyrics from a sacred harp song I love:
“Why should we start and fear to die?
What timrous worms we mortals are!
Death is the gate to endless joy,
And yet we dread to enter there.
The pains, the groans, the dying strife,
Fright our approaching souls away;
And we shrink back again to life,
Fond of our prison and our clay.
Oh if my Lord would come and meet,
My soul would stretch her wings in haste,
Fly fearless through deaths iron gate,
Nor feel the terrors as she passed.
Jesus can make a dying bed
Feel soft as downy pillows are;
While on His breast I lean my head,
And breathe my life out sweetly there.”
So, dear reader, my timrous worm, what has astonished you?