You drop a large vase and it shatters. Lots of piece scattered seemingly everywhere, some bigger, some smaller, some underneath areas you may not see. But did you ever notice we tend to pick up the larger pieces first? Why is that? It’s simply because the larger pieces better define what we are trying to put back together. Smaller pieces also tend to fit easier into larger pieces than one another where they can be like that puzzle piece that ‘kinda fits’ and ‘kinda doesn’t’!
Same thing here with this COVID thing. Those we love and care for are the larger pieces. If you are a person of faith, you have a super helper and likely the glue that holds all the pieces together. Regardless, the people are the larger pieces.
Once again, money is not everything, Family is everything. It’s not time to count the losses, it’s really time to count the blessings. I call them by name, Diane, Danielle, Emily, Alex and Jonathan. My dad and siblings. My animal companions, that somehow seem to sense I need them more than usual – or maybe it’s just the smell of me grilling on the BBQ? Regardless, we pick up the larger pieces first. Those are the pieces to which the other ones will attach as they better define what we are trying to reassemble. But what about those other pieces? Simply put, they really don’t matter as much as the big pieces. In fact, without the bigger pieces, you likely won’t be able to find where the smaller pieces belong. Metaphorically speaking, you even may find you don’t need the smaller pieces as much as you thought, like your $5 latte and the time it takes to get it.
As I drive into work to an otherwise empty office, I find myself amazed at the first-world problems of the long lines at Starbucks. These aren’t real problems, these are man-created. Must be 25 cars in line! I think to myself, a minute a car, so folks are spending 25 minutes waiting for coffee and think of the colossal waste of time. So if time is money, what is the opportunity cost of that latte? Maybe $50 or more. And the impact on the environment of 20 or so of them being running engines, trashing the air that I breathe. I think, “how can I turn this into a positive?” So I go across to the street to the far-less-frequented Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. I get in line, and pay for one or two cars behind me. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Kindness delivered when it matters most. Now that was a better use of time and money and the air is cleaner. .
So If I was to try and assemble a broken vase, I’d start with the bigger ones and if I can get two pieces to fit together, that’s a start. Sure, when you’re done there might be some pieces missing and the evidence will be obvious that it was once broken. What becomes more evident by looking at the rebuilt vase is that you cared enough to reassemble it. It might not hold water as well, but what it holds is the promise of hope for all of us and it will always not only occupy that space it once did, but will be a reminder of what you have been through. Physical scars on the vase and invisible ones on us. but we’ll be together and that’s what really counts.
My hope is for three outcomes. First, that I got closer to my family and made them feel as secure as possible during this time. Secondly, that we as a nation and people become closer. I would hope those in government could learn from its people. Lastly, that I didn’t waste this time I was ‘sheltering in place’ home and did my best to make it a nicer place for all and build stronger relationship with the bigger pieces.
And in dropping a few meaningless smaller pieces, I can love the bigger pieces even more!