This week marks the 100th anniversary of my mother’s birth. I can think of no better tribute than to share an excerpt from something she wrote years ago. She’s been gone for many years now but lives on in the following message.
At some time in our lives, I would imagine that each one of us has worked on a jigsaw puzzle.
Usually, the first thing we do is to study the picture on the box. It’s much easier to know how the pieces fit together if we have the completed picture in our mind’s eye.
The second thing that we do is to turn over the box and empty out its contents. Often our reaction to that pile of pieces is to wonder how such a jumble will fit together to form the picture on the box.
However, we set to work, turn all the pieces right side up and begin to sort them out and fit them together. Each piece has its own particular spot. Have you ever found one piece coming into your hand every few minutes? You try it here and try it there, and it almost fits, but not quite – so you put it to one side and go on with the rest. Whenever you find it in your hand again, you give it another try. Eventually, you find the right place for it.
Every piece of the puzzle must be there to start with, or we can never hope to see a completed picture.
Joining any kind of group is something like this jigsaw puzzle. Before we join we try to get an overall view of the whole picture. Then we look around at the number and variety of people who attend and wonder if we’ll ever sort them out and fit them together to make the picture we envision.
First of all, we have to turn them all right side up – that is, we have to find the right and good side of each. We can’t expect a piece to fit into our puzzle ANYWHERE. It won’t fit if we’re looking at the back, or standing it on its side, and trying for force it into where WE think it should go. We have to accept each person for who THEY are and not try to force them to be what WE want or expect them to be.
Some people are like the piece of the puzzle that keeps coming to our hand and we have difficulty finding a spot for. We must recognize the fact that everyone does not fit with everyone else all the time, but there is a proper spot where each of us belongs, and that no one else can fill. Every piece of a puzzle is absolutely essential if we are to have a completed whole.
It is my belief that our lives will be happier if we let each person take his place as an individual. Together we form the complete picture.