Have you ever tried to fit a puzzle piece into the wrong spot in the puzzle? I have witnessed committed puzzlers fight to make a piece fit. Maybe if I push just a little harder? But, try as they might, if it isn’t the right place for the piece, it just won’t work. And if they try to force it too much, the piece may bend or even tear. Then, it will take repair before it can fit into the place it really belongs.
I’ve learned that life can be this way too. For years, I convinced myself that I should keep pushing myself to fit into a space that I now see wasn’t meant for me anymore. I kept thinking Maybe if I push just a little harder, I’ll still fit? Maybe if I put in more effort and energy, it will get better? The truth is, it was a good space. That’s what blows my mind. I loved the school. I loved my students. I loved my co-workers. Something was just “off”. I wrestled through mental health issues and physical health issues. Looking back, I wonder if this was my version of bending and tearing. I was trying too hard to force something that wasn’t right anymore, even if I so badly wanted it to be.
How often do we do that? Work ourselves until we’re out of our minds because it is what we think we’re “supposed” to do? I think sometimes we get so caught up in the notion that we have trained for certain things and have been working at a place for so long, that we refuse to look at other options. Maybe “safe” and “known” isn’t always best. Maybe if you’re feeling the pull for change, like I was, you shouldn’t ignore it. Maybe you should ask yourself what you would do if there were no limitations? What is stopping you from chasing that dream…that thing you really wish you could do next?
(Let me add, that this doesn’t apply to everyone. Many people find their niche and stay with it their entire career. If that’s you, that’s awesome. I am so glad you find continual joy in your work. I just have to wonder if there are others that yearn for something new and are too afraid to find out what it could be for them.)
I’m thrilled that there is someone in my old classroom who is just starting out her theatre teaching career. She’s ready. She’s refreshing. She fits. It brings joy to my heart. It makes me happy to know I can pass my drama babies off to a new drama mama. And it helps me let go of my place there to look to my next place.
I think the biggest concept I’ve grabbed ahold of through this is that there can be more than one purpose for your life. If one comes to an end, it is not a failure. It is not negative. It may just be time for something else. Maybe God needs to use you in a different way.
The big question question for me now is, once I’m done with all of this necessary repair, where do I fit next? What is that “right” spot for my piece? But that’s another topic, for another day.
Here’s hoping you are right where you fit! And if you’re not, don’t be afraid to find where your piece belongs.