The last thing Dan Ervin would want you to think about him is that he's been saved, reborn or was lost and now been found. The 39-year-old husband of Lori and father of Danny, 7, Jake, 5, and Elle, 3, insists: "Look, I'm not a Bible thumper, and I'm not a religious zealot. Far from it. I am just your average guy. I go to work, provide for my family, make mistakes and just try to get through the day.
"I do believe, though, that if more people started asking themselves where they see God -- especially during these really difficult times -- they will see that God can be found every single day in the simplest of things."
To that end, Ervin, who lives in Bloomfield Hills, started a Web site last February, http://www.seegodtoday.com">www.seegodtoday.com. The Web site, which has no advertisers, makes no profit, does not ask for donations and has received about 15,000 hits. All the site does is ask the simple question: Did you see God today?
The entries are as grand as they are mundane, and they come from all over the globe. Some include YouTube video clips like Ervin's own entry last week:
"I saw God last night while watching my beloved Detroit Tigers play the Cleveland Indians. The Tigers were clinging to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the ninth inning when an Indians player hit what looked like a two-run home run, which would win the game for the Indians. Tigers centerfielder Curtis Granderson made one of the most extraordinary, game-saving catches I have ever seen."
Some are as simple as a blossom. "I saw God in a flower today. There is no better sight for these sore eyes than a blooming tulip after a long, cold winter! From Nancy, Bloomfield Hills, MI."
Ervin got the idea about five or six years ago while aboard a flight from Detroit to Seattle. Back then, he said, the only time he got close to God was when he needed help with a crisis. While on the flight, he was completely stressed out over a presentation he was to make the next day for selling software to the real estate industry. As the flight descended on its approach to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Erwin took in the view of Mount Rainier on an unusually bright and gorgeous day.
Ervin says he looked out the window and was captivated by a single, magnificent snow-covered peak. "I looked at it for as long as I could," he says. "When I turned back to my work, I could not remember where I was going or what I was doing. All the stress and anxiety had left me."
Five minutes later, he wrote down in his planner: "Monday, May 5, 2003, I saw God in Mount Rainier today."
He kept the practice up, writing similar sightings in his day planner. "Essentially, I wanted to get that feeling back again," he says. "I thought, I bet I see God every day, but I'm just too distracted to even notice."
The calendar entries were his own personal faith project until earlier this year, when a priest provided the impetus for the Web site. "I didn't even tell a lot of my buddies. Talking about God with my guy-friends is pretty A-W-K-W-A-R-D, if you know what I mean. But gradually people on the Internet found it, and the response has just been unbelievable."
His buddies' critiques? "They said, 'This is great -- it's just that we didn't expect it from you!' "
Contributors include Anne from Waterford Township, who wrote that she saw God in an 8-year-old boy at a hockey game. "He was brave enough to agree to sing the national anthem to start a district hockey game between two high school varsity teams. He came to 'Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the peri ... ' and forgot the words. He started over, came to the same part, forgot it again, when the whole crowd started singing along to help him make it through. Once he picked up the words, they let him finish to resounding applause!"
Or Theresa from Macomb Township, who says she can see God in her husband's job loss: "I truly believe that God has a plan for all of us, even if how we get there isn't always the path we would have taken." Or Brian from Sunrise, Fla., who included a video clip from the Masters Golf Tournament that shows, in Brian's view, "a moment in golf when I swear I saw God push the ball forward at the very end."
Says creator Ervin: "These are pretty dark times we all are going through. If for nothing else, the Web site shines a little light and tells us to keep the faith."
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