My mother loved Christmas Trees. Some of my earliest memories include her love for the intricacies of each ornament, the details of the strings of lights, and her attention to detail regarding how each item on the tree should be placed. As my mother got older, her eyesight worsened, and her love for Christmas Trees changed. In her later years she no longer would obsess over each and every detail on the tree. Instead of concerning herself with each ornament and string of lights, she enjoyed looking at the tree from the other side of the room.

Even though her eyes were not able to see like they could in her younger years, she enjoyed seeing the tree all lit up. One may say that with poorer eyesight, she was finally able to see the entire tree as one whole instead of just a collection of smaller details.

Christmas Trees are a unique example of how we collect details. We bring together all the things in our life and in our work and we hang them with care. We put them on display for others to see and enjoy. In this process, we can take enjoyment from making sure each ornament is carefully selected and placed on our tree. We carefully choose the lights that decorate our tree, and we find a place to proudly display our arrangement of details.

For those people who do not create their Christmas Trees to show off to others, there is still a satisfaction in putting together something meaningful for yourself and those around you. In a way, these decorated trees become a physical collection of our decisions, our preferences, and our styles.

These same decisions, preferences, and styles can be seen on display in our work and personal lives as well. It is easy to get wrapped up in all the small details. In fact, it is important that we do so because we are creating something brilliant. We are creating a masterpiece with all these details as they complement and contrast each other.

It is important to pour ourselves into creating something we feel moved to create. It is important that we put our heart and soul into the passions that move us. These are the details and the care that my mother was putting into the creation of her perfect Christmas Tree.

However, it is also important to take time to recognize that these details are creating something larger. It is important to take a step back and look at the whole tree – to enjoy how well everything came together; to recognize that the good and the bad are part of the same whole; to recognize how the trials and triumphs add color and excitement to the decorations of the trees. As you step back and see the whole, you’ll notice yourself experiencing an appreciation for all that you and those around you do each and every day. You’ll discover a compassion for yourself which will steady and calm you as you go about your business, both at home and at work.

Do you see the whole? Do you see the importance of being able to develop this new type of eyesight? This is the type of eyesight my mother gained when she lost her regular eyesight, and it was a gift. Being able to pull back away from the closeness of everyday details to appreciate what it is you are creating, to appreciate what and who you have in your life, and to appreciate how brilliantly everything fits together when you can see it all at once is a gift.

If gaining this type of sight requires me to lose my sight, then sign me up. I know I want to be able to see the forest from the trees because I’m told the sight of the forest is breathtaking – simply breathtaking. Until that happens, I will busy myself with the details of my daily work knowing that it all comes together to create a masterpiece. Thank you, Mom, for teaching me this lesson. Thank you.

Paul Purdue is a principal at Attorney Computer Systems. He’s a self-proclaimed “infrastructure nerd.” Check out Paul’s growing library of legal technology articles and videos on Attorney Computer Systems’ web site.

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