Life can hold some incredible events: the very first cry of your child as it enters the world, the telephone call that tells you that your mother has just died, the kiss you give to your daughter who skinned her knee while learning to ride a bike, the torment of watching your 6 year old child slowly die of brain cancer, the first time you set eyes on your angelic bride as she walks down the aisle to take your hand in marriage, the spouse who reflects back on that very first kiss over 50 years ago who’s now holding the hand of someone who can’t even remember his name, that glorious graduation ceremony where you receive your doctorate degree and the reward for those many years of hard work, the realization that you’ve flunked out of college wondering if you will ever finish anything in life, the teen child you admitted to drug rehabilitation, coming home from work and having your children welcome you with hugs and kisses. Some bring great joy, while others extreme sorrow. One moment you are on the mountain top of life and the next you’ve fallen to your knees wanting to die. This is your life, my life, our life. It’s this wild journey that we are on, but how are we to integrate such disparate events into something of meaning and purpose?
There might be many ways to answer such a daunting question, but there is one that I believe offers us that somewhere over the rainbow view of our life in the here and now. Before we travel down that yellow brick road, there is an alternative view worth mentioning, if nothing else for comparison sake. Many people hold this view, and it might even be the one that you have adopted, either by choice or default. This view sees all events of our life as mere chance occurrences. The tragedies and joys come and go without any real meaning, other than what we superimpose upon them. This might work for a while, but try and superimpose meaning on top of something like the sudden death of a child or the accident that leaves you handicapped. Our hearts will find us out, and if we really don’t believe that there is some purpose to the myriad of events in life, I think the result is either repression or escapism. John Mayer has a song called, “New Deep”, where he says how tired he is of trying to find meaning in his life, and so the alternative is to simply become numb, as the lyrics say:
Trying not to find every little meaning in my life
It's been fine, I've been cool with my new golden rule
Is there a God? Why is he waiting?
Don't you think of it odd when he knows my address?
And look at the stars, don't they remind you just how feeble we are?
Well it used to, I guess
Numb is the new deep, one with the old me
I'm over the analyzing, tonight
Stop trying to figure it out
Deep will only bring you down
Life is too short, and too valuable, to become numb to it. It is sad when life becomes a series of obstacles to overcome, rather than a journey to travel. There is hope, and it is to be found in a very simple, yet profound, idea that all of life is not just random events, but a grand story unfolding through the pages of time. Each of us is the main character, and our life the parchment upon which the story is written.
There is a movie called, “Australia” released in 2008 that portrays this idea quite nicely. The two main characters Drover (Hugh Jackman) and Lady Ashley (Nicole Kidman) meet in Australia in 1939 during a time when the half-aborigines children native to Australia were being taken from their mothers by the government, supposedly because the mother’s were abandoning them. One of the aborigines boys named Nullah loses his mother and Lady Ashley, who is not very good with children, does her best to comfort him. Nullah is mesmerized by the story of the Wizard of Oz, and is given hope by Lady Ashley’s, somewhat amusing, rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow".
We learn that Nullah is a magic man, and that he is able to draw people to himself with song. We also learn how important it is to the aborigines people that each person have a story to tell with their life. At this point you might be thinking that this view is really no different than the prior, where both involve superimposing our own meaning onto non-meaningful events. That would be true, if it were not for this one salient point to differentiate this view from all others...it's the reality that there really is a man behind the curtain who is in control!
We are not the only writers of our story. Pull back the curtain of life's events and we will find a master wizard who takes the seemingly random occurrences and turns them into sentences, then paragraphs, and chapters creating a grand story. He doesn't act alone, though. He invites us with each moment to reach out and freely place our hand upon his and together we write the one and only story of our life. We become co-authors in the greatest story ever told!
When the end of our life draws near, and we reflect back upon what has been written, the thing that will matter most will be how well we cooperated with the Almighty Author in writing our magnificant story. It will be how well we took the focus off ourself and directed it towards others, how well we responded to those that God brought into our life to guide and nuture us, and how well we used whatever we've been given to make someone else's life better, and the world a better place for all of mankind. We will have to answer the questions of whether we cared enough, gave enough, and loved enough. At the end of life, all we will have is our story.
There is a touchinhg video of a man named Nick Vujicic who has made the most of his seemingly unfortunate circumstance. He has chosen to take what he has been given, or not given, to write a grand story of inspiration and encouragement with his life.
I am a bit saddened to announce that this journey of the Counting David’s Character website has come to an end. Being a part of this magnificent chapter highlighting the wonderful character of David Archuleta, and seeing how it has inspired so many, has truly been a pleasure and an honor. The entire team would like to thank all of you for your wonderful thoughts and support on this website and in championing the value of good character. CDC will remain here for you to read and comment on, but there will be no more new articles nor chats. This chapter has ended and who knows what the next one will bring. We encourage you to continue counting David’s character and especially counting your own character. It’s your life...your story...so live it well...live it with purpose, and live it with character!
Steve Gallie on behalf of the entire CDC Team
"I can’t believe the way things have turned out over the past year! It’s amazing to see where life takes you. Looking back I had absolutely no idea I’d get such an amazing opportunity, and being the ﬁrst album, I feel like there are so many people that have gotten me here to this point for me to thank; all of them being a part of helping me go through this journey. There have been good times and hard times, but I think it’s all given to you to take you where you need to go in life."
David Archuleta, CD Liner Notes, 2008
David Archuleta, CD Liner Notes, 2008