Each year my mum hosts a family potluck at her home before Christmas. So far the weather has always cooperated and she’s never had to cancel. We have lots of great food and plenty of laughter. This weekend was no exception. There were twenty-one of us there, and in Mum’s small house it made for a LOT of people.
Although Mum looks forward to the potluck each year, it also ends up being very stressful for her. I have yet to figure out why she allows worry to overshadow what should be an enjoyable occasion. She worries that there won’t be enough food to go around or that someone will notice that her floor needs to be swept (even though she will sweep them several times that day) or heaven forbid, she might have forgotten something crucial, like napkins, and we might have to improvise and use paper towel. She wants everything to be perfect.
Too many times we allow ourselves to get caught up in the unimportant details in life as we struggle to make everything perfect. I question whether the perfect moments in life are the ones that are finely orchestrated by us, contrived down to the tiniest detail, or do they happen spontaneously without an ounce of anticipation? Do those details we feel the need to control really make a difference so long as we reach the desired outcome? Are there times when we get so caught up in the details that we end up ruining our chances of reaching a certain goal because of our preconceived notion of how thing should unfold? I guess what I’m trying to say is, does it really matter which path we choose so long are we find the way home?
Writing can be like that, too. Sometimes I get caught up in the finer details of a story that I overlook the fact that the story I’m working is not progressing.Even though I may have a clear idea of what will take place, in my efforts to get the wording just so, I stay stuck on the same few chapters. I’m working to overcome this, settling my mind on the end result, working to get that first draft complete. Later, I can go back and polish to my heart’s content, decide what scenes need to stay and which ones need to go but before I can do that I need that story— beginning, middle, end.
I’m hoping that one day my mum will come to realize that it won’t be those tiny details that we’ll remember in years to come, it will be the laughter and the fun, those spontaneous moments that she had no part in planning. Those will be the memories that we will savour and remember in years to come.