by Karen D. Swim
"I have seen the bigger picture and I can't do everything and have everything. "-- Dr. Miranda Bailey, Grey's Anatomy
The Bigger Picture does not always come into focus all at once. Very often we only see fragments at at time. The pieces do not fall into focus until we take a step back and examine them with our attention on the whole rather than the detail that makes up the whole.
We can become so enmeshed in the detail that we no longer notice each piece until we are so worn out and worn down they shatter around us. The pieces were never meant to be the focus, yet we become obsessed with the minutiae and lose sight.
To focus on the bigger picture we sometimes have to let individual pieces go. The process can be painful, as we realize that sometimes we must let go of things we love for things we love more.
So what is the bigger picture? Although your picture may vary, we all share five common traits.
- Time is finite. All of us are given the same 24 hours each day. No one can bargain, pay, or earn more time.
- We are mortal. Our time on earth will one day end. We do not have forever but we do have today.
- We are human. We cannot do everything and have everything. We try but something will always suffer.
- We don't need all the pieces to see the bigger picture. The pieces may change over time. Some may move to the far end of the board as others take center stage. The big picture dictates the pieces you bring into focus not the other way around.
- There's always a bigger picture. Always.
After losing my husband, I struggled with my bigger picture. Marriage made it easier to stay focused, balanced. It was an anchor of sorts that kept me from drifting too far. As a widow, I took on every piece that came my way without any focus on the bigger picture.
Life changes - children growing older, job changes or just the process of aging and wanting something different - may shift our bigger picture. Those same changes can also serve to remind us of the bigger picture.
As for my own journey, I learned that my purpose in life really did not change. The core of who I was created to be, do and give to the world is not dependent on a single piece. With the death of my husband, my pieces shifted but the bigger picture remained intact.
How about you? Do you ever lose site of the bigger picture or purpose? Tell us about it in the comments and anything else that's on your mind.