I am seated, cross-legged, on the floor with over a thousand pieces of a puzzle in front of me. Sure, I know what the image is to generally like, only because it is printed neatly on the box. Only at this time do I realize that life, and living it, is just like a riddle. So many pieces; so many people. Some even look so similar in shape, in color and even in the position they have in the overall puzzle. But no matter how alike they are, no matter how close they sit in the puzzle, they can never ever be the same. Why? Each piece of the jigsaw has a unique picture on it. In isolation, the picture may be meaningless. But without it, the puzzle will never ever be complete. Try losing that piece and see the puzzle lose its shine. Even more startling is that, even if two puzzle pieces come as twins; the same picture, same shape, same color, within that puzzle their purposes can never be interchanged. Whenever you feel like you wish you were someone else or you wish you looked like someone else, it is like one of those pieces hating itself for the picture on it. If one of these pieces had the life we had and tried to paint the picture its creator placed on it and tried to cut off one of its connections, seeking to look different, it would never achieve its real purpose.
Again, be sharp and notice that none of the pieces is ever a perfect square or circle. Not even a triangle or rectangle with straight sides. Just like us humans, no one is perfect. We come with a bevy of attitudes and behaviors, all for the greater good. So next time before you go and indulge in self-hate or pity, think about this; think about that riddle way of living, and live it.
Do not focus on the pieces of others, instead focus on yourself and the impact you will have on the larger collective. We are all at the table of Africa with different pieces, and no puzzle can be completed unless all pieces are used.
Now I’m returning to the task that lies ahead of me. This puzzle must be done before nightfall. Everyone has a role to play to make the puzzle come together.