I know, I know, it’s been awhile—way too long since my last blog. Too many distractions? Maybe just one, maybe two. Okay, I’ve been a little preoccupied with the details of getting the book published. And yea, I’m still staring at my house after being displaced by the hurricane of 2018. Those two and well just distracted with life. Remember when Jerry and George sat down to write a pilot and ended up at the dinner? I sat down, read my emails, answered friends on Facebook, hey, I had to plug into Pandora and rock out to Cake’s Rock and Roll Lifestyle and so here it is 10:00 and I’m finally focused on meaning—of all things.
Last time I wrote, a three-year-old was missing in North Carolina. I’m happy to say that after spending two nights in tangled briars and near freezing temperatures, he was safely returned home to mom and dad. And that roof that blew off my house? Well not only is the roof back but so is the drywall and trim.
But as they say, “The devil is in the details.” They do say that, but are they right? And anyway, who are they? In this case they are Gustave Flaubert (1821-80), who is often quoted as saying, ‘Le bon Dieu est dans le detail’ (God is in the details). Wait, “God is in the details?” Which is it, the devil or God? Surely both can’t be correct. Could it be that both are incorrect?
The saying is accepted to mean that details are important, they take longer to complete but until the details are complete, in my case, you don’t have a house . And so we think without the details we don’t have closure. Our life is not complete until the details are worked out. Really?
Have you ever met someone who has all the details worked out? Boring. Come on—they just aren’t real. They are telling the big one. The lie they tell themselves and pass off on others, “I got this world figured out.” Quick with advice, judgment, and a life of superficiality—they certainly look happy. Maybe they are. But for me, they leave me cold.
I long for authenticity—for the real. That’s what I was in search for on the tops of the Appalachian Mountain chain. Looking from that vantage point I saw miles of nothingness? No! I saw miles of everything-ness. God’s world in order and me at the pinnacle of his creation. And I was humbled. After climbing the equivalent of Mount Everest seventeen times, I fell to my knees out of thanksgiving, and out of hope. Hope founded in faith and faith founded in a real God who really cared for me.
Yet, that’s not how I started. I started angry and full of blame and judgment for the one who could have stopped that mini van and brought my son safely home. You know my story by now, if not, see below.
It was on the mountain that I found meaning—God cares for me just as much as he cares for my son. But it is in the valley that I work it out. In the valley when the rain filled my tent like a bath tub and my mattress floated like a raft. In the valley when my hands were so cold, I asked a stranger to help me with my jacket zipper. In the valley when I fell in a cold stream face down and saw my water bottle floating past. In the valley, life gets real.
Speaking of judgment, ever meet the people whose feet just don’t touch the valley floor? You know, the one’s who know you don’t spell judgment with “e” in the middle. Forget about it. This is about you and me and when we stop focusing on them, we will stop focusing on us.
Huh? That makes no sense. Well neither does the last shall be first or the meek will inherit the earth. I didn’t know the meek wanted the earth. Who knew? But that’s not the point. My judging others is really me focused on me and how much better I think I am. It is the single biggest distraction to finding true meaning. C.S. Lewis calls it pride. YUP.
So here it is: The devil is in the details, but God takes care of the details. Getting caught up in the trees, we forget what the mountain top looks like. Turning over the details to God and getting a glimpse of the big picture, the miles and miles of everything-ness all in its place brings hope and purpose and brings meaning. Seeing the everything-ness in the details of a flower, a spotted fawn laying in the meadow, and in the tears of your partner and the laughter of a child no longer here. This is evidence of a caring God and proof of meaning enough for this sailor.
Which reminds me, why isn’t it Onward Christian Sailors? I mean Christ was a sailor, right? Well maybe next time. For today, meaning isn’t found in the details; reach out to others and meaning will find you.
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matt 25:40 NIV)
My book, “When Sunday Smiled” is SO CLOSE I can taste it. It tells the story of grief, of miracle, and of a road to healing. Sign up for this blog, like my websites at AndyMDavidson.com and Facebook.com/ThroughLifeandLoss and get your copy March 15th!!