Last month when my wife and I were driving through the little one-stoplight-town of Lafayette, Oregon, we started chuckling. We were both remembering the time a few years ago when we parked along Main Street in Lafayette to meander through some antique shops. We came back to our rental car and tried to put the key in the door. It wouldn’t go in the lock.

Key and LockAs I kept trying to turn the key in different directions to get it in the lock, I grumbled and complained. The key looked a bit bent, so I tried to straighten it. I gave my wife the key and she tried to unlock the door. Growing more and more frustrated about what might have happened to this crazy rental key or the key lock on the car, my wife looked through the window of the car and couldn’t believe her eyes. All the stuff inside the car didn’t match anything we owned. It was the wrong car!!

Right key, wrong car. Another car of the same make, model and color had been parked one or two spaces from ours. We were trying to get into the wrong car. We looked around to see who might be watching and then laughed at ourselves as we easily opened the right car.

Car LockI’ve thought about that faux pas many times since. I’ve met a lot of folks who live their lives trying to put the key in the wrong door. They get so absorbed with some small aspect of a situation and totally fail to step back and survey the entire situation—like just looking at the obvious interior elements of the car that were visible all along.

Some of my favorite quotes include:

“I’m like the painter with his nose to the canvas, fussing over details. Gazing from a distance, the reader sees the big picture.” –Steven Saylor

“In order to properly understand the big picture, everyone should fear becoming mentally clouded and obsessed with one small section of truth. – Xun Zi

Sure, sometimes we really need to center on the details. Yet, many times we can get so wrapped up in those little things that we totally miss the big picture. It can happen in a marriage. It can happen at work. It can happen when we raise children—focusing on small behaviors instead of looking at the tone of the heart. We always need to keep the end in mind. Never get so engrossed in the particulars that you forget the purpose of the key—to start the car and take you to your destination.


QUESTION: What minutia do you need to let go of in your life? Please share below.

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