I preface today with the fact that nothing has changed. The presidential election is today and that is all I will say about that…The good news is, I have the day off for some much needed rest, relaxation, and DVRed (?) reality tv!
I expected to wake up with more answers than questions – more calm than confusion. My realities do not currently match my expectations. Thankfully, I did start reading more. My devotions have focused on shutting out the noise and letting God handle things so I considered writing about those for a quick second. I have heard so many motivational songs so I thought maybe I would use one of them as inspiration. I even had a title ready…The Power of Standing Still. (I still may use that one in the near future.)
And then I shifted my attention to my son who lined up all of the miniature Thomas toys in one big circle on the train track. I grabbed my phone to take a picture, telling myself he deserved to be documented the same way I document my other two. But every time I got the picture at just the right angle, he would turn around, notice I was taking a picture, and give me the biggest grin. I could not capture him just being himself, enjoying his toys. So I grabbed him and said to myself that a selfie would have to do. I mean, how can you explain to a four year-old that while his grin is definitely a beautiful addition to any picture, the picture is just as beautiful with him “as is.”
The beauty of the picture is watching him be himself. His whole life he has been trained that when cameras go on, smiles come out. It would take more than a 30 second misunderstood conversation with mommy to convince him that the beauty of the moment had nothing to do with his smile.
The strangest part was that the train track was actually broken. He did not even notice. Not only was the train track broken, but he was playing with trains that belonged to a different track. The track he was using has bigger tracks made for bigger trains.
It was then, in that split second, that God revealed what He was truly trying to say. I remembered the story of a professor that handed his class a sheet of paper with a black dot on it and asked them to describe what they saw. The entire class spent time and energy and paragraphs describing that black dot, what they thought it looked like, how it was positioned on the page. Not one described the white paper. The devotion was called “30 Days to Greater Faith” by Christine Cane. I would provide the link but I cannot figure out how to do it because I found the devo in my Bible app, but I did find the story retold here.
In that split second, God chastised me.
“You have in your head this picture of what you feel your life should look like, and perhaps your spoiled ways have caught up to you. You are surrounded daily by unconditional love from family and friends. Your co-workers would go to war for you, and yet, here you are obsessed with this black dot.
“You have convinced yourself that the black dot ruins the white paper. You try to figure out how to you can make the black dot go away. You feel as though that black dot has somehow rained on your parade of white.
“Someone convinced you that only blank slates can be used, only white papers are good enough – good enough to display, good enough to inspire so you have managed to get lost in the details of the black dot.
“What if I told you that the black dot gives that paper significance? What if I said that the black dot is not at all the problem any more than miniature toys and a broken train track. Yes, your son can play with un-broken, fully functional train tracks. Yes, he can play with larger Thomas the tank engines. Yes, he can say cheese for the camera, but none of those things create a better picture – just a different one.
“So you can get lost in the details of the black dot or you can recognize that the black dot brings out the whiteness of your paper…
“Please excuse me if I decide not to play a part in your pity party. I have no intentions of explaining and being misunderstood any more than you do.
“I will, however, leave you with this. Your picture is more beautiful as is with all its whiteness and that magnificent black dot than it could ever be without it. Your picture is beautiful because of the black dot.”
What are some black dots in your life?
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It is important to let go of those items that we focus on way too much to the detriment of what we really should be devoting our time to. When we expend our energy on our jobs we have nothing left for our family. It is a matter of perspective. Thank you for reminding us of this fact, Brittany.
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Yes it is. Sometimes, I must let go over and over. Because once I “feel like,” I have got it handled, I slowly start reintroducing old habits and obsessions. You are correct. I must focus on what really needs my time.
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I am in the same boat as you, Brittany. It is so hard to break that cycle. I guess the constant struggle is what makes us human.
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Wow!! I know in the past I got lost in the details. Although I don’t recall now what those details were but I know I have. Next time I’ll definitely be more mindful of what I’m getting worked up over. To examine wether it’s worth my time to get lost in the details. This was a great post and the transparency!!
You are so welcome. I have to continuously circle back to this because I continue to get overwhelmed in the details and lost sight of the bigger picture.