The Missing Piece

What is it that makes the eye wander?

Whether we're talking about throwing out ninety percent of our closet in favor of a clean, simply-designed wardrobe; dumping our family home for a 10x34 foot house on wheels; or changing personal relationships, sometimes things just don't work. Sometimes, something else happens. Something shiny attracts the eye, something that takes us away from the familiar to another place.

It's human nature to look. Actually, it's part of our DNA. Social psychologists write that men are attracted to curvy women because they're fit to bear offspring. Women are attracted to men who are tall and broad-shouldered, built to slay a beast for the dinner table. We build and feather our nests, and preen to make ourselves appealing. So the real question is how is it that some relationships endure? Some young people choose to remain on the family farm--some children still look forward to growing into an older sibling's coat or dress.

I have to believe there's no magic to resolve. Resolve is a choice. I choose you as my mate and you choose me. We affirm that every morning as we start the day. We affirm. There's something tethered to the other end of that decision. Another person. Another choice. It took me a long time to understand that no matter how much I wanted sameness, the thing at the other end of that tether was making choices too and they may well not be my choices.

Ancestry.com yielded another DNA hit a couple of weeks ago--a new "first cousin." Given that all of my parents' siblings were accounted for, this seemed unlikely. And yet, her DNA looked very much like mine. We wrote and shared pictures and stories that were remarkably similar and at the end of the week, welcomed one another as family. I'm happy to have found her. But at 83, she's been pulled from sameness into uncertainty and the questions I've struggled with my whole life have been dumped in her lap with nobody to ask. Nobody to answer.

Sometimes things just don't work and so our choice is to change. And then there are those who feel something is missing and spend their lives searching, running from their own choices. My father never knew he had a sister. I wonder how his life might have been changed by the lightness of her laugh and her love of adventure.

I know mine will.

(Images from "The Missing Piece Meets the Big O" by Shel Silverstein)






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