For me, I know that I’ll always remember the specific smell of the cigarettes my uncle smoked that filled the kitchen when I visited my relatives. That smell always brings me back to remember the great family memories I had in that house.
It is this same love for specifics that draws us into good story telling. It’s not the fact that the girl has been sentenced to death, it’s the way the author describes her mother noticing the bow on the back of her daughter’s dress as she walks up to the guillotine that breaks our hearts. The specifics take it from a story, to something that’s real, something we can relate to, because it’s what we naturally are drawn to. This love of the specifics stems back to our Creator.
In the biblical narrative, especially throughout the gospels, we see strong evidence of the importance of specifics. God, the original storyteller, comes down in the flesh as Jesus. And what are the things that Jesus stops to notice? He notices one women in a crowd of hundreds, who touched his robe as he felt healing go out of him. He notices a women who cries at his feet, washes the tears with her hair, and then places fine perfume on him. How much more specific can you get? Even Jesus’ death, the crown of thorns, Simon, helping him to carry the cross, the two prisoners hanging beside him, all of these specific things are placed in the story for a reason, to make it more real for us. God knows that the specifics are the way to our hearts, it’s how he wired us.
The story of your life is made up of thousands of seemingly insignificant, yet beautiful specifics that have shaped the person that you have become, and are becoming. For the artist, the characters that we create are no different. The true storyteller tells a story that is shaped and guided by the specifics of it’s characters, because that is the story that God is writing with each and every life.