Guest Writer: Wemi Opakunle
Whenever someone is giving me a pep talk, they often say “It’s all about the big picture, keep your eye on the prize”. I also often hear “In the end, these difficult moments won’t matter.” As an individual who looks at life as an incredibly intricate puzzle, I can’t help but think about how misleading and false these seemingly harmless words of encouragement are. I constantly find myself asking “What if it really isn’t about the big picture or the prize at the end of the race for that matter?”
If you’re a puzzle lover or have ever had the pleasure of working on a puzzle with family or friends, you know that the beginning of putting a puzzle together is the hardest part. That moment when you dump all the pieces on the table is usually one filled with a little anxiety and doubt as to how you’re going to get the mess in front of you to look like the perfect picture on the box. Slowly but surely, you start somewhere. You rummage through the mess and you find the pieces that fit. Sometimes you jam certain pieces together but realize they don’t work, so you try again. Depending on how complicated the puzzle is, you may leave and come back to it when you’re ready. You scratch your head a few times and other times, you really just want to pull your hair out. You search for lost pieces. In fact, it seems like you’re always searching for lost pieces. There are times when you almost give up but you trudge on. When a piece fits another perfectly, you jump and scream for joy.
Throughout the process of putting the entire puzzle together, you have as many moments of frustration, impatience and anger as you have elation, joy and excitement. You realize that every single piece serves a purpose and every single piece holds equal weight. The piece in the center is just as important as that on the end and so your search for each piece means that much more. As you put the last piece in and look at your completed work of art, you sigh and appreciate its beauty. What you appreciate more however, is what it took to create that masterpiece. Every step of the journey was worth it.
Life, is a beautiful, intricate and challenging puzzle. What you’ll find at the end of the journey is that although you’ve reached your destination, it wasn’t ever about the destination to begin with. It was all about how you got there. The “how” is what shaped you, molded you and freed you. You are who you are, ready to take on the next puzzle because of the “how”. So next time someone tells you that “it’s all about about the big picture,” remember that it’s actually about those tiny moments and puzzle pieces. The big picture would be nothing without them.