When Details Are Important

As we all know, time can go by so quickly and yet so slowly at the same time.  Painful times that seemed to last a lifetime in some sense could be flagged by fleeting moments where it is hard to believe years have passed already.  Two years since my late husband was here with me, two more years in which our children have grown and transformed into their own persons, two blinks of an eye where it seems sometimes that Jim might still be at the house when I return from work but at the same time two long years where so much has changed.

Jim’s heaven day was two years ago.  Another widow introduced me to this term and its name is powerful and appropriate.  Rather than thinking about a death anniversary as a sad event for me and many others still here, it is right to remember that Jim is in heaven and marking that as a wonderful event for him.  As I reflect on Jim and try to remember him as the person he was – his good qualities, his not so good qualities, his quirks, his personality, his style, his essence – I know remembering the details is important.  I remember his smile, the way his eyes would sparkle, the way he looked when he wore a blue shirt, the way he said my name, his laugh, the way he walked, the jokes he told, the gentleness he expressed to strangers, our vacations, the way he meticulously mowed the lawn, the countless camera shots he took of our kids to capture all those precise moments, the way he drove his car, the expressions he would use that I never completely understood until he explained them to me.  The list goes on, but when I am in survival mode or busy mode trying to get it all done, I don’t take the time to remember the details.  But the details are so important.

The details provide the substance, the gift, the life that Jim was and gave.  Recalling these details for my kids helps to make their daddy a real person rather than a photo in an album.  Remembering the fine points, the nuances, the details, the private interactions – all this honors Jim and his memory.  These details help me remember healthy Jim, rather than sick Jim.  They help me see the good in people, despite their flaws.  They release emotions and remind me that Jim mattered, our life together mattered, and every person has value.

That being said, when considering my future, I also have come to appreciate that fretting over details is one of my worst enemies.  Where there is real value in recalling details of the past, there is danger over obsessing over details as it relates to the future.  Instead, I have learned the future must be met with broad strokes.  Considering goals and visions is necessary and then trusting and working to make these a reality is appropriate.  If I try to consider too many details and/or control things, I lose.  This doesn’t mean I am laxidasical about my future or that I do not plan for it.  It does mean that I have stopped trying to control the happenstances along the road.  I have learned to accept what happens and consider that setbacks or changes in directions are alright.  This isn’t necessarily easy either – I can cry with the best of them; however, it is liberating to give up the control and know and trust that God will handle things such that my kids and I will be alright. 

So critically analyzing the past and mulling over details – yes; but using this same strategy for the     future – no.  Instead my new mantra has become to move forward with confidence without controlling every detail, but I do know that this is alright.  Moving forward with confidence with that general vision for the future but knowing things will change and morph and not go the way I envision completely.  And knowing too that this is alright as well.

There have been several scriptures over the years that have spoken to me and have helped to get me through some difficult, dark, and frankly horrible days.  This one again speaks to me and reminds me to let go of the control and the details when it comes to the future:

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”   Romans 8:28



11 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Melinda Corbin on June 27, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Perfectly said!


  2. Beautiful words, dear lovely Erica! I love you always! Stella


  3. Posted by Gunda on June 27, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    Beautifully written, as always, Erica! It made me cry. I love the beautiful, joyful picture of Jim you included. That is exactly how I like remembering him. On another note, I will graduate from NCWC on August 30th. You inspire me!


  4. Posted by Russ Dalton on June 27, 2016 at 4:54 pm


    Well said. Jim left his mark on our lives and in such a positive way….leadership. The Dalton family in Kentucky miss him greatly.


  5. Such a great post, Erica. I love the picture – VICTORY!


  6. Posted by DeNeasha King Strother on June 27, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    This was beautiful! It brought tears to my eyes. I am inspired by your strength Dr. Kosal. Thank you for always encouraging others. I credit you for my professional success!

    Thank you for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself.



  7. Posted by Kelly Williamson on June 28, 2016 at 12:00 am

    Beautifully written and such a great message for us all. Hugs for you.


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