It was kind of my son to rank me in his top three fathers this Father’s day – he didn’t specify who came out top between me, Father Christmas and Father Ted but I appreciated the affirmation (and the thoughtful and witty message within).
I must confess to also being pleased to be progressing well in the battle of the online Dave Luck’s. I have been sad enough to google myself and I appear to be above Dave Luck, the painter and decorator from Oldham and even better, Dave Luck the local radio DJ from Exeter. It’s better to be honest that when you do something that can be noticed like writing a book, you do want people to notice. I do want to tell the story to help people and ultimately show the goodness of God within the difficulty of life but I can’t pretend there’s no vanity involved. When someone told me the other day that he’d heard my book was being spoken about well by someone who trains others it felt good.
I realised a while back that the flip side of pride is insecurity and we easily get into a daze of activity to make ourselves feel better about ourselves. I’m aware of my insecurity with my writing. When you write something you put you put yourself out there, you make yourself vulnerable. In the times where there’s not much reaction doubt creeps in.
I’ve written loads of stuff over the years. After Ben died I wrote a few kid’s books, which at some stage I’ll post on the website as PDF’s. I know the reason my various writing attempts didn’t very far before was that they ranged from terrible to average. When you’re trying to get established with something creative there’s a part of you that just wants to be discovered, for someone with clout to come along and say that what you’re doing is amazing and they’re going to put your name in lights.
The pitfalls are obvious. If our sense of security is based on the validation of others it will always be shaky and if we pursue that we will become needy and shallow. There are plenty of quotes from the rich and famous who have ‘made it’ telling us that being rich and famous isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Jim Carrey for example is quoted as saying:
“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”
Fundamentally, I don’t think we need to do things in order to be noticed and known because I believe we are already known by God.
I’ll come back to that but it makes me think of something else – when people don’t want to be known and believe they can remain unknown.
It was truly grim to read the other week that Jess Phillips MP had received a horrific number of online rape threats. These are clearly from people confident that they can remain unknown. In an age of CCTV and web surveillance there are some who are passionate about their right to be able to be unknown, to be able to be forgotten online and not tracked. I’m sure there are very noble reasons for people to want to do this but I’m generally of the view that if you have nothing to hide there should be no problem with people knowing what you’re doing. I guess that could be seen as a very naïve and benevolent view of the state and big business but essentially, I don’t operate with a belief that I can remain unknown.
I believe I am made by a God who sees everything. He knows all my weaknesses. He has seen my failures. Nothing that’s a source of embarrassment or shame can be hidden from him. He sees it all and yet he loves me anyway. He tells me I have fallen short but that it’s okay because he has bridged the gap. There is a way to be secure outside of my own efforts by laying down the path of self-determination and following him.
The question of course, in life as a whole and day by day is whether that’s the way I choose.