Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Puzzle Pieces...The Finale

PLEASE somebody, PLEASE unplug the machine!

I found myself in the middle of an otherwise mundane seminar on church missions. Been there…done that…bought the t-shirt…sold it at a rummage sale. My ADHD was cruising at Mach 8 with a virtual unlimited supply of jet fuel. The longer I sat there, the faster I counted the indentions in the ceiling tiles. In my mind’s eye, I had already restructured the room, critiqued the other seminar attendees, and had redesigned the PowerPoint presentation…and that was just the first ten minutes! Did I mention the fact that the main seminar speaker spoke in an almost monotone, high pitched, nasally voice…and I was sitting in the front of the room?!

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a new seminar speaker with a welcomed change to my ears.
He was a younger man, more eloquent in speech,
The voice of a disc-jockey…my senses were peaked.
The longer he talked, the more excited he became,
Something was wrong, he didn’t play by the rules of the game.
His heart screamed of missions, you could see it in his eyes,
I felt myself calming down, I couldn’t understand why.

Then out of nowhere, this guy had the audacity of passing out puzzle pieces to all of us in attendance. There I was, totally focused, enjoying the rare calmness of the moment when he stops at our table to give us our puzzle pieces.

Yep, there I went. My applecart was just knocked into oblivion and I became nothing more than a salivating dog waiting for my master to say “Go!”.

Let me at the puzzle!

Since I had already evaluated the room, I came to a very quick conclusion that I could have a WWF Smackdown in the middle of the conference hall and I guarantee I could have had that puzzle put together in nothing flat.

Uh-oh…I think I might be crossing that line again…

But he didn’t say ‘Go’. He said “Stop”. “Stop what you’re doing. Stop how you think of missions. Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!”

What!? Stop it!?

I felt my engines calming down almost as fast as they had fired up. I was trying real hard to hold it all together, but my Type A, ADHD personality was on a Guinness World Record setting pace. Somehow, someway I had to focus, fast.

“Each of you are holding a very unique piece of a puzzle.” “And each piece, whether it’s at this table (pointing to mine), or that table (pointing to one in the back), is just as important as the next.”

No he just didn’t!

“Let that sink in. Each one is just as important as the next.”

There is no way this guy is actually telling me and everyone else in this room that each piece is just as important. Did he not get the memo that told him that mine out-ranked all the others? That without mine, this puzzle couldn’t be completed?

“But just remember” he said, “Even though there is not one individual piece that’s more important than the other, each single piece…each single person, is such a vital part that without it…the puzzle just isn’t complete.” Then he looked and pointed at the person beside me. “It takes you. And you…and you…and you!” As he pointed to others around the room. Others, just like me.

He shared a truly grass-roots style philosophy of missions that in all honesty, I’ve never seen before due to my over-energized, caffeine-fueled personality. A philosophy that is so basic, yet so incredible...goes back to that ‘forest for the trees’ thing. But when I saw it…I really saw it.

He went on to say that even if we did attempt to assemble the puzzle, we couldn’t because all of the pieces were not handed out...more people were needed…more people willing to take the focus off their own puzzle piece and instead, do everything in their power to see…to complete the big picture. There were still very valuable pieces that we didn’t know about, yet, each was just as important as the ones we were holding. What really is the big picture? What does it look like? These are the real questions that we must seek the answers to. It’s irrelevant what my specific puzzle piece looks like, but how does it work in relation to the big picture. The focus must be on the overall picture…what does it look like…what is His picture.

I am still a very confident individual…extremely sure of myself…borderline arrogant. And I will always be accused of crossing that superthin line. I’m still a classic Type A personality with overactive adult ADHD tendencies. But now, I carry with me that same single puzzle piece that serves as a constant reminder of that moment when I really saw the big picture.

Want to put a puzzle together?


K.T. said...

I love puzzles,but that is irrelevant.

That gives me something to ponder...What a great thought provoking post!!!!

Robert Fellows, Jr. said...

Hey, I would love to work on that puzzle! Now I just have to get to the point where my piece takes a backseat to the big picture.


dean said...

what a great illustration! the part about all the pieces not being passed out yet came out of left field! how easy it is to think that, even if i know that me and my single puzzle piece arent the only one that matters, i can still fall into the trap of believing that my little circle of influence is all it takes to get it done. but even within our own circle of influence, we dont have anywhere near all the answers... there are people out there that we dont even know yet, with parts of solutions (that we dont know about yet) to problems that we dont know exist yet! a great arrogance buster...

Jeff said...

Great post! Expect me to snatch it from you and use it someday soon! Thanks! ;)