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Missing Pieces

Taipei, Taiwan

Always, always, always make sure, that when you say goodbye, you left that life better than when you said hello.
– Lessons on Life, Loss, and Love

I’m working on my year-end finale for my blog, a practice I’ve been doing for years now, maybe as far back as 2012. I’ve been writing even longer than that. To be honest, some of my old writing makes me cringe, but it’s interesting to see the development of both my perspectives and writing skills. Probably over a thousand pieces and millions of words later, I’ve managed to progress into a decent writer with a few works that I am proud of. Am I proud of most of my work? No, not at all. Most of my work remain as drafts, a lot of them I would say are ok, some of them are horrible (the ones that make me cringe), and a very few of them I would say bring me pride.  Some people say I can be too hard on myself (and that’s why I can be hard on others), but I’ve only understood where the difference.

When you have a true vision, not some made-up thing you wrote on a piece of paper because some workshop told you it was important, but a clearer and clearer picture of how things should be, and when you’re a true artist, not just someone who has things to express, but someone who will stop at nothing to bring that true vision to life, then you are driven by a force beyond you. You’re not driven to belong, to fit-in, to be accepted; you’re not driven to be praised, to be acknowledged, nor respected; you’re not driven simply by money (though that’s always useful), by more and more stuff, and by vanity records. There is no success nor failure, they are only milestones on the journey. There are no consolation prizes, no “good enough”.

There is only that picture. Like the image on a box puzzle that guides the puzzle master as he or she shuffles through the pieces to find what fits towards completion, a true vision guides us – and reminds us pieces are missing.

I’ll write more about the idea of vision and true vision (because I want to make a distinction between the watered-down vision inspirational speakers use and true vision). For this post, I want to focus on the idea of Missing Pieces. When I look at the puzzle box image of my life, the true vision I want to achieve for the time and place I find myself a part of, I find so many missing pieces, so many gaps and empty spaces.

There are gaps in my character.

There are gaps in my resources.

There are gaps in my abilities.

There are gaps in my faith.

There are gaps in my promises.

There are gaps in my teams.

There are gaps in my marriage, gaps in my fatherhood, gaps in my health, in my relationships, in my service, and in so many other things.

In many of those gaps, while I know that the gap exists, I find that I am missing the piece or pieces to fill it in. It’s not something I have with me currently. And this is many times a good thing, our missing pieces, our needs, our blanks, help guide our search. They clarify for us what we need to be seeking and working on.

Most people see their lack, their needs, and their incompleteness as a reason to feel inferior, to be discouraged, to be worried and fearful. Don’t be like most people. Your missing pieces are guides, a million times better than 99% of the commercial mentors out there. They point you to what you should be seeking for, and as the verse says:

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
– Matthew 7:7

Many times, we don’t find the missing pieces, because we’re not actually looking for the missing pieces. We’re looking for security, for comfort, for acceptance. We’re looking for the benefit of the missing pieces, not the missing pieces themselves.

We want financial security, when the missing pieces are probably discipline and contentment.

We want spiritual security, when the missing pieces are probably a better understanding of God and community.

We want relational security, when the missing pieces are probably forgiveness and kindness.

We want a more comfortable and secure world, when the missing pieces are probably more selfless and more generous neighbours, starting with ourselves.

Let me summarize:

When you have a true vision, a picture in your head of what you’re developing, you’ll find gaps and missing pieces.

These missing pieces are guides, they tell us what to look for, what to seek.

Many times we’re seeking for the benefits of the pieces, not the pieces themselves, then wonder why our situation isn’t changing. We’re still missing the pieces!

So look for the piece. Seek for that necessary piece. It’s only that piece that can bring a more sustainable personal peace. (Now that ending sucked. That sounded like a cheesy preacher on a Sunday morning. But you get the point.)