Cheryl Hughes: The Missing Piece
I’ve been told that I think too much. It’s true. I have a need to make sense of the senseless. I want things to fit, to work out, to follow some sort of pattern to the perfect end. After adding up the mistakes, mishaps and flaws of this life, I am tempted to view it as an experiment gone terribly wrong. And you know what, if the goal were perfection, I would be right; but I’m realizing more every day that the goal is not perfection, rather it is adaptation.
Have you ever read the Shel Silverstein book, “The Missing Piece?” The story is about a little circle that is missing a piece of himself—a wedge-shaped piece—and is on a quest to find the piece that will make him perfect. Because he is an imperfect circle, he moves along at a rather slow pace. Along the way he stops to make friends and have adventures and enjoy the beauty around him. Finally, he stumbles upon his missing piece. He tries it on and it fits perfectly. So perfectly in fact, that he is able to move faster than he has ever moved before. He rolls right past all of the new friends he has made and all of the beautiful things he saw earlier while on his quest. He can no longer relate to those around him who have imperfections. The little circle makes a decision. He sets his missing piece down and rolls along at his imperfect lopsided pace. He would rather be part of the “experiment gone terribly wrong” than to be perfect and be alone.
One of the most difficult things for me to do is to ask for help. I could give you fifteen reasons for this personal flaw, but it wouldn’t change it. The only thing that will change it is for me to ask for help when I need it—a hair from the dog that bit me. Watching my mother-in-law struggle with her broken hip just to do the simplest of things has really had an effect on me. Garey, Natalie and I were her life line during the two months she stayed with us. Agnes has always been the type to wait on everybody else and to rarely ask for help. It was difficult for her to be in the position to depend on others for basic needs. I could identify.
We got to take Sabria to Alabama to see Agnes this weekend. Garey’s sister and her sons came over and we all pitched in with the cooking and cleaning. I’m so sorry for Agnes that she broke her hip, but our family has grown closer for it, and my granddaughter has gotten to know her great-grandmother in a way she never would have if Agnes had remained perfectly whole.
Leonard Cohen wrote a song around 1992 called “Anthem.” The words put it all in perspective:
“Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”