Minutiae

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How quickly stress causes us to lose our perspective.

Deadlines and hectic schedules narrow our vision. Don’t think I’m down on deadlines. I’m not. I know that without deadlines, precious little would get done, and we’re not on earth to sit around and do nothing.

But we also certainly aren’t here to do so many somethings that we still end up doing nothing.

I took a test in my aesthetics class on Tuesday. The fact that I can hardly pronounce the class’s subject is a testament to how well its concepts are sinking into my brain. The textbook is as thick as a brick, and so is my skull. Aesthetics is the philosophy of beauty. Apparently just calling something “pretty” doesn’t cut it. Nope, the ancients had to go and write essays on it.

I studied about five hours over the course of several days for this test. I memorized facts about Aristotle, Plato, Plotinus, Augustine, Aquinas, and Ficino. I memorized the intricacies of Plato’s cave and Plotinus’s monistic concept of deity. I went over Aristotle’s Poetics and made sure I knew the six elements of perfect drama backwards and forwards. The professor is known for his difficult tests, and I wanted to be prepared.

When I received the test, my heart pounding and my hands clammy, I realized to my horror that the test was much easier than I thought it would be. He wasn’t looking for minutiae, which was what I had studied. No. Instead, he was looking for the big picture. He wanted to know which philosopher agreed or disagreed with Plato and on what points. That was all.

Guess what I didn’t know? Which philosopher agreed or disagreed with Plato and on what points. In my exhaustion and stress-induced narrow focus, I had neglected to see the importance of the big picture.

I am guilty of this in more than one regard. I get too busy, too stressed, and too tunnel-visioned to see that I am part of a larger story. I am the adopted daughter of an awe-inspiring God Who has a reason for everything that happens in my life and in the life of everyone else who lives on this planet. The tiny part of the story I’m living plays into the greater epic of the Creation, Fall, and Redemption of man. There are people out there who don’t know this story. Even some of you, my dear and loyal readers, may never have heard of this incredible truth.

If I get too focused on the minutiae of my life, I will forget that there is a bigger story I need to be telling. If I am to succeed on this test, called Life, I must make a priority God’s truth that exists on a higher plane than I am walking.

 

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