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Finishing touches may not kill you

Finishing touches will kill you. Do you want the line to go up or down? the name to be this or that? is this darker or that? Should we label it or leave it alone? describe it in the caption or put it on the figure? And really, should this be positioned before or after, vertical or horizontal? It’s a veritable maze of decisions out there. And I’m only talking about the illustrations!

But I’ve come this far; I’ve got to finish. It might be tempting just to be done with it. Let good enough be enough and go on to other things. That would be the easy thing. Frankly, it would be the practical thing. But somehow it’s not the right thing. So each day I have to stare delay in the face and tell her (yes, her) “You have no power here.”

And then she gets angry. I know this because things start going wrong. Small things. I can see her throwing a temper tantrum. I can’t get hold of someone, can’t find something, can’t use, can’t open, can’t balance. Can’t is tricky, you know. It has sneaked the “no” out of cannot thinking no one will notice. But I have – in fact I just did, as I typed that – and so I am onto you, Ms. Delay. You who gleefully sprinkle can’ts around and convince me that finishing is much too hard.

I can.

I know this because God has already placed people around me who I’m meant to call upon down the finishing stretch. Some of them are tough. Some of them are demanding. Some of them speak sweetly but are rabbid about a deadline. Some just show up at my door, in my inbox or via text. There’s a whole daggone crowd gathering. So I think that must be the finish line just ahead.

In the meantime I am humming a tune that has popped into my head. The chorus goes,

“Oh I wonder what God was thinking
When he created you.
I wonder if he
Knew everything I would need
Because he made all my dreams come true.
When God made You
He must have been thinking about me.

(Here’s the rest: New Song – When God Made You Lyrics | MetroLyrics)

It’s a dream I have that my daughters would choose that song for the first dance at their weddings. (Don’t tell, but in my dreams I start singing that song, and then they take over and sing the verses to their new husbands.)

But really, can we believe that when God created, everything He put in place came from a heart that knew just what we would need and when we would need it and made it so? Already? I suspect the dress rehearsal has already taken place in the heart of God. We were there, walking it all through, and now we just have to remember the steps.

Oh my. There’s gonna be some DANCING on at that heavenly reception!

For now, move over Delay, I’ve got work to do.

Who has time for details?

I’m not a detail person. I would rather do the big stuff. Make the big difference. Start the big program. Be the front man. And let someone else take care of the details.

Because that’s what feels good. When I can look at what I’ve accomplished and celebrate a job well done. I can hold in my hand a proposal or hand you a copy of my latest book or send you a link to the speech I gave or the program I ran or… Problem is, most of life is details. Details leave me dissatisfied. At the end of the day what do I have to show for them? Nothing.

Yesterday was one of those days. I twiddled and twaddled. I plunked out a blog post (not my best, I know. I’m sorry. Still wallowing in the Boston mess; resisting the urge to call it the Boston massacre, guiltified to move beyond, wary of others accusing me of putting it behind, this thing that now is a part of all of us), tweaked my this and hand-washed my that, re-wrote my “about page” for this blog, perused others’ professional pages noting their structure, formulated a  re-working of my professional page. Alright, yes, I spent some time reading emails and looking at Facebook.You get it; I generally diddled.

Point is, without a crisis or a looming deadline that begs a big splash I am forced to attend to the details.The stuff behind what everyone sees.The stuff they don’t give you credit for.

This morning I am thinking about the tons of people who spend their whole lives doing this. The stuff other people don’t want to do. They’ll never be celebrated. Won’t get credit. I wonder if they are as dissatisfied as I am. I, the spoiled person who needs proof of her value by the product of her hands. They have a lot to teach me, these hidden ones.

And I look out at the grass of my front lawn that is all-of-a-sudden green. Exploding in tufts that need mowing. When did that happen? Spring came overnight and I missed its approach. Can’t deny its arrival; it’s right there in front of me, teasing me to join in the fun. The gangly green grasses stretching and yawning and making a silent ruckus. All there in my front yard!

Mother nature was working those details while I was busy with my bigger things. Yep, the grass and flowers and, oh my goodness, flowering trees that now have budded into tender little green leaves. Above me the canopy of shade, the cathedral of tulip poplars, has returned. When did this happen?

Where are all the little workers whose toil I now get to enjoy? I want to thank them. But they’re not that way. They’re the detail folks. They don’t do it for the credit. Probably not even for the product. They just keep chipping away at what needs doing.
And suddenly it’s beautiful.

I am gonna watch for those detail people today. See if I can catch them in the act. And tell ’em thank you. Perhaps this will help me acknowledge this person in me. The one who takes care of the necessary details, only when forced to. Maybe if I make a list…so I can check off the tidbits.

There’s that ‘getting credit’ thing again. Ugh. Lord, help me see you and not the devil in the details.

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