The Missing Piece

I cannot believe that this profound and complex work of art is a children’s storybook. Imagine at a young age being taught that finding our “missing piece” will not necessarily make us complete, but in actuality will hinder us from singing, stopping to smell the flowers, talking to a worm and having little adventures and misadventures along the way (of course these are not to be taken literally, but are mere metaphors of thrills we miss when we find that missing piece). I guess it is good that the youngsters who will come upon this book will learn the reality of love’s nature. Thanks to a special someone who introduced this story to me. I think I will let my teenagers of the future read it to brace themselves for this complicated but beautiful thing we call love.

Marriage and relationships are hard work and many tend to over romanticize these things. It’s not all fairy tale happy endings where the prince will carry you on his stallion to live in a beautiful castle and be happy forever and ever amen. The books do not show the arguments that come after, or the emptiness and silence during dinner. It will not show the jealousy, violence and bitterness. And it will not definitely reveal the curiosity of finding another “piece” that might be “better”.

In his book “Being and Nothingness”, Jean Paul Sartre describes the nature of love, of how authentic relationships are bound to fail if we try to possess and fashion our lovers in a way that we desire. If we objectify the ones we “love” into our ideal partner, we will be in it for a mess. I couldn’t agree more. I think that love is never trying to change our lover or our beloved. Love is supposed to be a mirror and a reflection. Antoine de Saint-Exupery explains it best when he said: “Perhaps love is the process of my leading you gently back to yourself.”

I came from a four-year relationship and despite it not ending as good as I have wanted it to be, I have never learned as much from that time span. My boyfriend then taught be genuine love, happiness, patience, selflessness and cooking well. 🙂 The reality is, we both ended up being completely different people in the end. Frustrations of wanting the other to be someone they’re really not started to rise. The missing piece that found its “perfect” fit rolled too fast to appreciate the flowers, or talk to worms. It rolled too fast that it forgot to sing perfectly. So what did I learn? I realized that no particular and single piece will ever fulfill us the way only we can. I realized that love is not trying to change anyone into your image of who you want them to be. Quoting Mr. Tom Robbins: “When we’re incomplete, we’re always searching for somebody to complete us. When, after a few years or a few months of a relationship, we find that we’re still unfulfilled, we blame our partners and take up with somebody more promising. This can go on and on–series polygamy–until we admit that while a partner can add sweet dimensions to our lives, we, each of us, are responsible for our own fulfillment. Nobody else can provide it for us, and to believe otherwise is to delude ourselves dangerously and to program for eventual failure every relationship we enter.” I realized that there is no such thing as a perfect piece that fits you, or a soulmate. No such things exist. I think there will be many pieces or lovers we will encounter along the way and all these pieces will leave deep footprints in our hearts, that will shape our characters through life’s journey.

I will end this with one of my favorite poems by Khalil Gibran in his book “The Prophet” that every person in a relationship should read. This is how it should be:

But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup, but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

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