When I was younger, I came across a poem with a [now] lifetime friend while preparing to help organize a conference. I know it might be hard to believe (sarcasm of course), but I was just as contemplative and curious about the world as I am today, when I was a kid. This poem was so impactful, it’s stayed with me for almost two decades.
The way we as humans necessarily affect each other, regardless of our intention, is significant. In a world where global communication and transportation brings us so close to each other, being aware of our power to impact others is of massive importance. I have always loved this poem for its timelessness in concept. It’s also a great reminder that what we do and how we react to the world today, and all days, empowers us to create positive or negative change. It’s our decision. Humanity is what we have in each other.
There must have been a time when you entered a room and met someone and after a while you understood that unknown to either of you there was a reason you had met. You had changed the other and he had changed you. By some word or deed or just by your presence the errand had been completed. Then perhaps you were a little bewildered or humbled and grateful. And it was over.
Each lifetime is the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
For some there are more pieces.
For others the puzzle is more difficult to assemble.
Some seem to be born with a nearly completed puzzle.
And so it goes.
Souls going this way and that.
Trying to assemble the myriad parts.
But know this. No one has within themselves
All the pieces to their puzzle.
Like before the days when they used to seal
jigsaw puzzles in cellophane. Insuring that
All the pieces were there.
Everyone carries with them at least one and probably
Many pieces to someone else’s puzzle.
Sometimes they know it.
Sometimes they don’t.
And when you present your piece
Which is worthless to you,
To another, whether you know it or not,
Whether they know it or not,
You are a messenger from the Most High
(Kushner 1977, 69-70)