Awe is an emotional response to witnessing or feeling an event, condition, or circumstance that is beyond description. Words do not adequately describe the aforementioned. Jaw dropping, I-don't-know-what-the-hell-happened-here experience is close in explaining what awe is, but it's not quite there.
Many of us were introduced to the word awe in church or some religious context. "And an awe came over everyone," is referenced to miracles attributed to Jesus.
Awe. Miracles. And Jesus.
This is where you set the bar.
Here are some examples of how awe or, in the more colloquial fashion, "awesome" should and should not be applied:
Never use the word as it applies to stuff your kid does, your hair/makeup/clothes, your dance moves, your vacation pictures, or your grandson Tucker/Todd/Turnbuckle getting into Cornell. Your house, car, job, career, possessions, and hobbies aren't awesome. Neither are your looks.
Sports have no claim on Awe. Not a windmill dunk. Not a Hail Mary Pass. Not a 650 foot home run. A twenty foot putt, a 9.3 hundred yard dash, or a javelin thrown through the cafeteria window are not awesome.
Achievement is does not possess Awe, with very few exceptions, and persistence in spite of immeasurable odds can inspire Awe. The guy in Ecuador that spent every day for thirty years with one shovel to dig a road through a mountain is a good example.
Things that can cross the bar of Awe:
Kindness. Forgiveness. Nature of All Measure. Suffering. Childbirth. Surviving Poverty. Escaping Death Camps. Self-Sacrifice. Altruism. Charity. Peace. Happiness. Joy. Laughter. The Human Body. Space. The Animal Kingdom. Chemistry. Physics. Astronomy. Medicine. Classical Music. Ballet. Opera. Words.
Earth. Life. The Universe.
And the constant energy that ties them together: Love.
As I see it, Love is the essence of all life. Without it, Awe does not exist. Love is Awe's foundation, energy, and power.
Where there is deep, selfless, sustaining and persistent Love, there is Awe.
And where there is Awe, there must be Love.