In the details / by Martha Keyes

"Elementary, my dear Watson." 

Only by the deductions made possible thanks to their detail-oriented minds were Sherlock Holmes and Shawn Spencer (of Psych) able to solve crimes. Without this attention to detail, Sherlock and Shawn are no different than any other person (though perhaps still significantly more socially-inept than your average Joe). Their knack for observation allowed them gather the pieces of a puzzle, assemble them, and see the big picture. Have you ever done a puzzle before?

It's terrible.

It's addictive.

It's fulfilling.

You see the pretty picture on the front of the puzzle box and think, "Hey, I'd like to see that shattered in 1000 pieces and then reassemble it." So you turn over all the puzzle pieces and then start with the corner pieces, then the outer edges, and you work your way through that puzzle. If you're like me, you leave the puzzle table oh-so many times, fed up with trying to force together those lousy cloud pieces that are indistinguishable from one another but somehow not a single one fits with another. Then you're back five minutes later because YOU JUST ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO FINISH THAT BLASTED PUZZLE.

But doing puzzles does something else to you, aside from driving you bonkers. It forces you to notice all the small parts that must come together in order to create the beautiful picture. It forces you to focus on details and how things interlock and fit together. The more you observe and attend to those details, the better your chances of getting to see and appreciate the big picture. 

When I think of the story behind my husband and me meeting, I see a complex puzzle--in fact, something more like a piece of machinery with many moving parts. Without any one of those parts, the machine doesn't work, and Brandon and I don't end up together. It's actually quite unnerving to think how easily we might have never met. I don't know who is in charge of assigning missionaries to MTC districts and zones, but it frightens me how much power that person had to influence my future. 

The more I contemplate the fickle nature of chance's role in the details and minutiae of my life, the more I understand that there is absolutely something else at play--a guiding force that arranges everything. There is a hand behind the smallest occurrence, and on such occurrences hinge so many larger and weightier ones. 

I've recently been trying to pay greater attention to the beautiful details of life. As I have, I have marveled at what I've seen and the way in which it affects how I see the bigger picture. A few weeks ago, I was able to spend hours on my own in Balboa Park in San Diego. I decided to spend those hours admiring the details of the beauty of the park, rather than just the overall beauty. The experience I had doing this is one I would recommend to anyone and everyone. I was astounded when I focused on the details as well as the overall picture. Here is a little of what I saw there, moving in each set from the big picture down to smaller details. As you look, try to focus on the complexity of even the detail shots. It's astounding!

The same God that placed that star in a precise orbit millennia before it appeared over Bethlehem in celebration of the birth of the Babe has given at least equal attention to placement of each of us in precise human orbits so that we may, if we will, illuminate the landscape of our individual lives, so that our light may not only lead others but warm them as well. 

God is truly in the details.