Andy Andrews is one of the funniest people I’ve met (well, I’ve met him via an interview and some e-mail conversations). He’s also one the most observant people I’ve come across as well. Andy is an author, speaker and stand-up comedian. He’s also a dad, husband and friend to many. But Andy has been touched by tragedy (losing his parents waaay too early in life) and was homeless, too. In fact, for a while, he lived under a pier in the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area. Like Anakin Skywalker, he has every reason to hate sand.
Thankfully, though, Andy didn’t become Darth Vader.
Andy instead became a noticer (a term that he uses in a couple of his books.) He has a knack at seeing the the little things that most of us miss.
Of course, his new book just happens to be called The Little Things: Why You Really SHOULD Sweat the Small Stuff (Thomas Nelson Press). It’s a good, solid book and quick read. And it’s one that will leave you with moments when you go, “Oh yeah.”
One of the stories in the book is about a trip he and his wife made to visit friends for a dinner engagement. At the end of his street (he now lives six miles from the pier he used to live under), he had a choice of turning West or East (straight would have been a seafood dinner in the Gulf). He and his wife Polly longed to turn West because the sun was starting to put on a spectacular show. But they had to turn east. Polly began taking pictures as they drove — each one more spectacular as the other. At one point, she said, “I bet you saw lots of beautiful sunsets when you lived under the pier.” Andy got quiet. A very painful nerve had been hit. After a few minutes and a few more questions from her, he told her, “I don’t remember the sun ever being this beautiful.” They eventually pulled over and looked at the spectacular photos. One was intriguing — it was of their car mirror. But in the mirror, there was a perfect shot of the setting sun. Polly hadn’t seen that when she took the picture. And at that moment, Andy realized the sunsets had been beautiful when he was homeless. But back then, night meant fear. He completely missed the beauty of the moment.
I didn’t do Andy’s story justice (he’s a much better storyteller). But I got his message loud and clear. We go through life blind to our blessings. I have told the story of my year as a custodian so many times here — but I’ll be honest, I never saw the beauty of that experience until AFTER I had left.
It’s the little things folks. You have to learn to see them, find them and cherish them. Otherwise we’re like water bugs and are skimming along the surface of our lives. And I think of how many beautiful things I’ve missed because I was afraid, too.
Thanks Andy. Once again, you taught me to see life in a better way.