Where does this “fit in” to my life plan? How does this make sense? How can something that hurts so much mean anything good? In my early years I asked many versions of these questions. How can anything “bad” that happens - be good or be for a reason? I’m not sure if you ever heard someone say this, but as a young child I remember always hearing “everything happens for a reason”, and that phrase didn’t make much sense to me.
Losing loved ones unexpectedly, observing or experiencing tragedies no one should ever have to go through, being diagnosed with terminal illnesses or even the unexpected loss of a job when there was a family to care for. How could any of these be “for a reason” or mean anything good. It wasn’t until my college years, that I heard a different version of that motto – and it said “everything in your life has the capability to teach you something new or make you stronger”. NOW that really resonated with me!!
In his book Maximum achievement, Brian Tracey references Clement Stone; a billionaire known for being an inverse paranoid – he felt everything in the world was conspiring to do him good- to help him grow or teach him something - Now you might be thinking – I’ve experienced a lot of awful things and I have a hard time believing they were there for a lesson. I’m with you on that, but there is a power that can come from overcoming some of the ugly things life throws at you and rearranging them to create something beautiful!
As a young girl, I remember watching my uncle spend hours for weeks and sometimes months putting together intricate puzzles of 5000 pieces or more.
I’d get frustrated attempting to help - thinking or sometimes yelling “Where does this even go? How do you know where all these pieces go?” I remember it like it was yesterday…my uncle answered: “Cathy, puzzles like these take great patience. You don’t always know where the pieces belong, but what you do know is that they DO all belong. Sometimes you grab a piece, but you might not figure out exactly where it fits until way later and that’s ok. Eventually it all unfolds, and you see where every piece fits perfectly to form this beautiful picture (he said as he pointed to the picture on the front of the box).
I feel like every one of our lives has an opportunity to be a beautiful portrait, and it unfolds like a puzzle. Every moment and experience we have is a piece of that puzzle. Sometimes it takes a long time to see where those pieces fit, but they all belong. Imagine, you’re holding a piece of the puzzle and it’s an ugly brown and weird shape. You know the end picture is a beautiful waterfall in the middle of a gorgeous rainforest. But as you look at the piece you’re holding, you think, ‘there is no way this belongs to this beautiful picture.’ I want to challenge you on that because maybe that piece is part of the scum that’s on the rock at the bottom of the waterfall, in the middle of this BEAUTIFUL portrait that is your life!!! If that piece was thrown away or left out, the picture would be incomplete and lose some of its beauty.”
I believe – “Everything in our lives is a unique part of our ‘life as a masterpiece’.” There are things that happen that we don’t understand, but if we accept that this world is full of ugly things (most which we cannot control), and focus on expanding our capacity through everything we endure, we could use that as a gift to serve others on their journey in this life, and increase our own personal fulfillment and joy.
I challenge you to own every piece of your puzzle and choose to design your life as the masterpiece it was meant to be!