We’ve all had that moment where we were looking for something and couldn’t find it right away.
Recently, I was looking for a small piece of a puzzle that had been misplaced. I looked everywhere in sight. First I inspected the room where I thought it should be, then in the adjoining room, and then in another room nearby. No puzzle piece. Hmm.
I decided I needed to get on my hands and knees to look under the huge 9 foot long sectional that dominates our living room. This may seem like a pretty simple task and it should be. Unfortunately for me, due to complications from a severe auto accident, bending over results in mild vertigo. In addition to the vertigo, I have neck pain when I tip my neck too far back. I often find myself falling off to the right and this is where I learn to laugh at myself.
So, picture me slowly lowering myself to the floor, careful not to lose my balance, and then bending my elbows slowly until I am positioned like a sleeping baby: knees tucked, buttocks resting on my heels, forearms on the carpet, and head sideways almost touching the floor. At this point I realize, that due to my poor eyesight and need for multi-focal lenses in my glasses, I cannot ascertain whether or not the many objects I am seeing in the very dim lighting under my couch are indeed said puzzle piece? I try to adjust my glasses to a clearer viewing angle, requiring me to free one arm from its supporting position… it was at this juncture, that I was quite relieved to be alone in the room! It all happened so fast: I lost my balance toppled over to the right, away from the couch and found myself lying on my side about 2 feet from the couch. Stunned, I am just lying there for a second until I can gather myself together. I slowly turn my head looking under the huge Sectional in front of me. From my new perspective I can clearly see, not only the puzzle piece I was looking for but a cache of other “lost items, dust bunnies, and various other random particles.” As it turns out, my previous attempt had placed me too close to the problem to locate the misplaced item.
Life is like that; I’ve noticed.
So often, we are trying to get to the bottom of a situation and in our attempt to “locate” the missing puzzle pieces of the problem, we fall down flat in our own issues. At these moments we can look for the humor of the situation and chuckle at how incapable we really are at managing every misplaced piece of our lives. In addition; we may find more than one misplaced particularity in our life that needs to be rediscovered.
Sometimes new perspective we’ve gained, from our failures and experiences, actually helps us to find the solutions we were looking for to begin with.
Often a humiliating moment in our situation allows us the right viewpoint, to identify what action is needed, and resolve our search. Since I had been unceremoniously toppled from what I had originally decided, was the perfect position for resolving the situation; I lay on the floor of my living room, looking up at the huge sectional that was harboring my lost puzzle piece. It was there that I found I could laugh at myself: at my insufficiency, at my awkwardness, at my own humanity. Life is better when we find the humor in our own failures.
Our giant sectional provides a resting place for our rather large family, Two parents and 9 children, in varying stages of life, infant to adult. Even though I would love to say “I keep a clean and organized home.” The real truth is: things fall through the cracks, roll under the sectional, break on the tiles of our kitchen floor, stick to the carpet up the stairs, and find their way in to the darkest corners of our lives. We have issues! I alone, matriarch of this household, am not able to resolve them all. My house will never be perfect. I have come to terms with the reality of that fact now.
I haven’t always been able to accept my shortcomings. In fact most of us cannot easily accept being wrong. I absolutely hate it! I pride myself on research, hard work, and personal growth. When I finally voice my viewpoint on any subject, I am quite confident in my stance. Why? I have prepared myself by gathering knowledge on the subject. But just like my attempt at locating the puzzle piece under the sectional; I often find myself flat on the floor, with a new perspective, when one of my propped up opinions gets pulled out from under me.
Sometimes we become angry at ourselves for our imperfections and at others for pointing them out. We may become unsafe to approach because of our inability to accept our own imperfections. We defend our intentions. We may miss the opportunity for self-discovery as a result. The misplaced pieces we need to complete our lives, stay in the darkness of our oversized opinions; just like the puzzle piece I needed to find.
In this instance, I faced the inevitable, that I would indeed have to lower myself to the ground in order to know if what I was looking for could be found. Then and only then, did I find myself in a new position, with a new perspective, and could laugh at my own predicament. I picked myself up (slowly of course) and I took a broom and swept out the missing piece of my puzzle and all the other junk under my sectional. It was a bit embarrassing to see all the dust bunnies, particles of popcorn, remotes, Legos and miscellaneous stuff laid bare on my living room carpet (thank God it’s polypropylene!) At that moment though, I felt such relief at cleaning away the dust bunnies, putting things in their rightful places, even though I had to bend over to do it! All the toys made it back to their homes, the remote back to its spot, and me back to the upright position. I had a little giggle to myself at how silly I must have looked at that moment on the floor.
In the end it was in my humanity and humility that I discovered the perspective I needed, to discover the missing piece I had been looking for.