Missing Pieces, Missing Opportunities

My husband, Chuck, and I love to do jigsaw puzzles. In fact, we each received one for Christmas and we’ve already completed one of them. Currently we are working on the second.

We both agree that the first order of business in assembling a puzzle is to find all the edge pieces and complete the border. But that is pretty much where our agreement ends. As he likes to say, my tactics are logical and his are emotional.

My method is to turn all the pieces face-side up and sort them by theme (i.e. words, faces, colors, etc.) Chuck’s method is to dig through the box until he finds something that interests him. It makes for interesting times working together, but over the years we’ve learned how to compromise and make it work.

A few days ago as we were finishing the first puzzle I had a section that was just about complete – I was only missing three pieces. I had looked through the box multiple times and just could not find them. I compared the picture on the box with the puzzle and memorized what should be on each missing piece. Still, they were nowhere to be found. I was getting frustrated.

Just as I was getting ready to blame the manufacturer for not including all 1000 pieces I had an epiphany, “The pieces don’t always look like what I expect.” Ah. As soon as I shifted my focus from what I thought the pieces should look like and opened my mind to what they could look like I found them. Section complete.

I sat there and looked at these three pieces for several minutes and thought, “I wonder how many opportunities in life I am missing because they don’t look like what I think they should.”

I have pondered this ever since. How often do I dismiss a phone call, or email, or conversation because it doesn’t meet my expectations? How often do I not fully engage with a person because I’m too busy hunting for the next ____ ? [fill in the blank] How often do I miss awesome opportunities because I am so focused on my plan, that I’m not open to new ideas? Probably more often than I’d like to admit.

I am not one for New Year’s resolutions (that’s a topic for another time,) but these three puzzle pieces have challenged me. I am hoping that I can be less focused on the “should look like” in life and more open to the “could be awesome.”

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