I have a confession to make. I am an information junkie. I am addicted to facts and data. I guess this is why I love trivia so much.
Love it? Indeed, I do. Trivia intrigues and captivates me. All kinds. Except about sports. Sports holds almost no interest for me. (Unless it the physics of why a curve ball curves. Now that is interesting!) Everything else is fair game. Like…
Do you know which name has been the most common for British monarchs? (Answer: Henry. There have been eight, of course. And as for number eight, well he “got married to the widow next door, and she’s been married seven times before, and e’vry one was a ‘enry….”)
And did you know that Merlin’s father was reputed to be the devil himself?
Or that when the English pronounce the word “valet” they say the t: val-ett?
Or that male lions don’t hunt? The females do all the hunting. (“Wife, fetch me my dinner!”) That huge mane prohibits the male lion from achieving much running speed, needed for a good kill.
Or that the first married couple to be seen in bed together on TV was none other than Fred and Wilma Flintstone?
Or that Adolf Hitler actually did marry Eva Braun shortly before they committed suicide?
Or that the King of Persia once sent an elephant to Charlemagne as a special gift? (The elephant was killed by barbarian invaders several years later.)
Or that a photon (a particle of light) can exist in two different places at the very same time.
Or that John Wayne’s real name was Marion?
Or that nutmeg is toxic if eaten in large enough quantities?
Or that Prince Phillip had to give up right to the throne of Greece to marry Elizabeth II? He traded a possible kingdom to be only a prince. (Now that’s love.)
Or that the reason we have starlings in North America is due to William Shakespeare? Seems that in the 19th century there was this guy who was a real Shakespeare nut. He decided to transplant to the USA all species of birds that were mentioned in Shakespeare. On two different occasions he released starlings from England into New York’s Central Park. Once he released 60 birds, and later 40 more. All starlings in the U.S. are descended from these 100 Shakespearean fowl.
I even know trivia about trivia. The word “trivia” literally means “three ways”: tri + via. The word referred to the practice of stopping to gossip at intersections, places where roads met. Intersections were places for people stop and gossip. So if you had three roads meeting, well, then a bunch of people could spend a whole lot of time passing the time talking unimportant stuff! (By the way, intersections are good places to get away from witches and vampires. I guess beings that exist in the supernatural realm don’t have a very good sense of direction… for the legends say they get confused at the meeting of roads. Also, vampires can’t cross running water, and witches are not supposed to be able to pass over iron. So if you lived on an island in the middle of a river with an iron bridge going to your property, you should be fairly safe. But then, there are always werewolves to watch out for!)
Now, you may think that all this fascination with trivia, facts and data is useless. And maybe it is, to an extent. It certainly is counterproductive if it becomes too much of a distraction in a person’s life—as anything can become an obsessive, destructive force.
But I think there is some value to be found here. For all these bits of information remind me of the vast, complex, detailed and intricately fashioned world that God created. There’s lots here, folks. And most of it is extremely fascinating.
In addition, all these facts make me conscious of the nature of the God who made all this—a Being truly omniscient. Consider this: As much as we may know and understand and research and learn, there is still an infinity of information and knowledge out there to be learned. But all of this—what we now know, what we will come to know, and the things we will never know—is already known by the God whom we love and serve.
Ponder that idea for a moment. All the myriad facts found in the creation are known, remembered and realized by God Himself. ALL of them—and all at once, in a moment. He knows all these trivial things, and even more. He not only knew about Charlemagne’s elephant, but He knew the exact moment that the elephant died. He knows the speed of the wind on Mars and the surface temperature of Betelgeuse. He knows the numbers of hairs found on your dog and the number of ticks hiding in those hairs. He took notice of that mouse that was caught in a trap in my kitchen last night. (Sorry, Minnie. You are now a widow.) He perceives the solar flares shooting out from our sun, and knows the exact mass of each one. He recognizes the rock formations on the moon and probably has His own name for each of them. He knows how many leaves are on that oak tree in your back yard. And he knows how many acorns fell from that same tree last year. He was aware of a rabbit killed by a hawk in the Shenandoah Valley last night. And he thinks on the plight of a seal pup whose mother was devoured by a killer whale. He also knows the joy felt by the eagle as it soars over mountain ridges and glides sunward in majestic spirals. And He is aware of the thrill that a dolphin feels as it sails skyward executing a happy somersault. He knows it ALL!
He knows you! Marvel of marvels. In all the vastest of space and time and eternity, the Lord Himself, God the Almighty Creator and Deity sees, knows, understands and cares for you. The very hairs of your head are numbered. The very cells of your body are listed and catalogued. The very moments of your life are recorded and watched over. There is nothing about you He is not aware of. (Frightening thought, isn’t it? Comforting thought, isn’t it?) And in the midst of all this knowledge of YOU and ME, good and bad, pretty and ugly, virtuous and sinful, He says to each one of us, “YES! I love you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 33:3). Wow! How marvelous is our God.