“Details are not my forte.” “I’m a big-picture person.” “Abstract concepts are my thing; let me have the ideas and people with other talents can worry about the details.”
All are statements I have heard people make about themselves, I have had made about me, and I have made about myself. Each one of them are little more than a positive spin on a dirty little secret: details are my nemesis.
They scare me. They elude me. They pop up at the most inopportune times and thwart an otherwise perfect day/project/adventure. I do believe that some people are more gifted with details than others. I recognize that I have other strengths and when it’s possible, I should delegate some of the more administrative and pragmatic elements of my life to someone more focused on dotting “I’s”, crossing “t’s” and carrying the 2 in long division.
“I resent the details.” I said it out loud and in frustration during a phone conversation the other day – a conversation prompted by the need to “fix” a situation that resulted from my missing a few pertinent points in a plan. Even as a solution surfaced I quietly, under my breath, cursed the existence of details and their persistence in disrupting my mildly thought through activities. In all honesty, what I’m truly resent is my lack of ability to manage them effectively.
As I’m ready to go in for the kill on all things particular I am distracted by an eyelash falling to my cheek. It reminds me of bedtime and butterfly kisses. My frustration melts into soft memories as I remember how precious details can be. I know the colors of all my kid’s eyes, their birthmarks and scars. I can tell you what most of my closest friends were wearing the first time I met them (not all of them, some of them I just feel like I’ve known forever). I remember the smell in the air when I was listening to a favorite song all the way back in elementary school. So valuable are details that as God describes the passion directed at us, the divine attention to detail is used to make the point: colors for flowers, homes for sparrows, the very number of hairs on our heads.
I’m more aware of details than I like to admit. Those that haunt me just require a little better life management on my part. Those that inspire me need to get a little more attention.
And if it’s been bothering you that you don’t carry a number in long division – call me sometime, I may have need of your detail skills.