No More Seashells 

It’s weird to be me. People ask me what I do and I always have a hard time responding. 
“I write and speak about philosophy and theology” 
That doesn’t have the best ring to it. 
It also feels very odd to call yourself a philosopher or a theologian. 
I can’t possibly be smart enough to be a philosopher or theologian. 
With all the uncertainty and doubt that comes with being a philosopher it is important to take the time to appreciate the good parts of my “job”.
The best perk of what I do is simple.  
It gives everything meaning. 
I can’t see or do anything without thinking about what it means. 
Sound exhausting? 
It can be. But there’s nothing I would rather do. 
Everything has meaning. 
With that in mind let’s see if we can learn something from a place where we would never expect to find any significant meaning. 
I went and saw “finding dory” earlier today. 
I went with my younger sister. We watched finding Nemo when it came out years ago and decided we should go see finding dory and enjoy a trip back in time. 
It was a very enjoyable movie. 
For those of you who don’t know anything about the storyline allow me to briefly summarize. 
Dory is a fish. Dory has short term memory loss. Due to her short term memory loss Dory becomes separated from her family and is lost for many years. 
Finding Dory is about the trip that Dory takes to find her family. 
As the movie plays out we see multiple flashbacks into the past of Dory. We learn many things about her life and experiences. 
One of they key pieces of information we are given is that many years in the past Dory’s parents built a road made of seashells that led to their home. 
When she was a baby fish, Dory couldn’t remember how to get home, but Dory liked seashells. So her parents built this path of seashells so that Dory would always be able to find her way home. 
Do you ever feel like you can’t find your way “home”? 
Do you ever feel lost at sea? 

Have you ever felt as if you were separated from something important? 
Dory did. 

Once Dory disappeared her parents left their home to try and find her. They ended up settling in a new home in the last spot they knew she had been. 
And they waited. 
For years. 
Hoping. 
Praying. 
Yearning. 
For the return of Dory. 
Well after much lead up, and after many exciting adventures, Dory does find her parents. 
Though they had settled in a new home, there was something familiar that Dory recognized. 
Seashells. 
Everywhere there were seashells. 
Piles and paths of seashells stretching out for hundreds of yards. 
All leading to the new home of Dorys parents. 
Dory saw these shells, and she followed them. 
When she arrived she was greeted by her parents. 
They were overjoyed.  
Dory was overjoyed. 
After much celebrating the parents explained what they had been doing for all these years. 
Every day, for years, they had been waiting. 
To help Dory find her way home they decided they would go out everyday and gather seashells. 
I don’t remember the exact words they said but it was something like this. 
“Everyday we would go out and gather seashells and add them to the paths and piles so that you would be able to find us” 
Wow. 
Instantly my eyes filled with tears. 
How much time have I spent going out and gathering seashells, making paths and piles, 
Hoping,
Praying,
Yearning,
That God would find me. 

What are your seashells? 

Do you think you can gain the presence of God by doing all the “right things”? 
Do you think that believing in “truth” will cause you to have unity with God? 
Do you spend hours finding seashells and laying them in paths? 
Hoping, 
Praying, 
Yearning, 
For God? 
If you have I am sorry. 
I truly am, I understand you pain 
Desiring the presence and approval of God yet never truly feeling you have received it is one of the most painful things I have experienced. 
I spent years gathering seashells. 
Years of labor, with no reward. 
All my gathering and path building never brought God to me. 
I was mistaken in thinking it would. 
I was wrong about God. 
God isn’t “out there somewhere.” 
God isn’t waiting for you in heaven. 
God isn’t looking for a road of seashells to follow. 
God is here. 
Close. 
Present. 
Alive. 
God is in everything good thing. 
God is in everything loving thing. 
God is in every moment you experience. 
The lie we have believed for to long is that God is somewhere else. Waiting for us to get to him. Waiting for us to build roads of seashells for him to find. 
Today you should leave behind that lie. 
Today you should embrace the God that is near. 
Today you should know that you are loved and known. 
Just as you are. 
Sinner or Saint. 
Black or white. 
Heterosexual or homosexual. 
Gentile or Jew. 
You are known. 
You are loved. 
You are accepted. 
Not because of anything you have done, but because of who you are. 
No more seashells.

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