The world is a giant puzzle that hasn’t been put together yet, and we’re trying to find the other piece of this puzzle that goes with us – E E Cummings
E E Cummings is my favourite poet. His poems and writing talk of the most fragile parts of the human experience, of love and loss, of relationship and family, of the heart and the soul. I read the quote above and found it to be such a beautiful metaphor.
Human beings were never meant to be lone creatures. We exist for each other and are all intrinsically linked in some way. I find it difficult to imagine what it must be like to live a life of complete solitude. You often hear of people who decide to ‘go it alone’ and go and live in the mountains as a hermit – a choice that was theirs to make, but yet it is a choice that I find difficult to connect with. Maybe that’s the problem – connection. As a social creature, as a human being, my connections are essential to my own happiness – therefore I cannot imagine choosing to no longer have those connections.
For some people, losing those connections is not a choice. It just happens. An article today in The Guardian stated that loneliness can be twice as unhealthy as obesity. Scientists tracked more than 2,000 people aged 50 and over and found that the loneliest were nearly twice as likely to die during the six-year study than the least lonely. The figure means that loneliness has around twice the impact on an early death as obesity. What a horrible thought that people are dying of loneliness….
We live in a world where we are even more ‘connected’ than ever before. The internet and social networking means that, from my computer or smartphone here in Scotland, I can be in contact with people around the world, start up meaningful and meaningless conversations with complete strangers, see my friend in Australia’s children grow and change…..I am always ‘connected’. Yet, in this incredible age of technology and networking, people are still intensely lonely.
People need other people. It’s a universal truth. We can sit at our computer screens for days on end, yet still not truly connect with someone. Those connections require more than a screen or a social network. We connect through the conversations we have, the smiles and laughter we share, wiping away tears from a friend’s face as they share their deepest fears, hugs of excitement as you meet again, and hugs of sadness as you say goodbye. We connect through opening up to people, through taking the risk of being vulnerable with another person, through kind acts and caring for those we meet, through little acts of love – no matter how small or insignificant.
E E Cummings spoke about the missing piece of the puzzle. The missing piece of the puzzle is most often another person, or other people. In fact, maybe every friend or relationship or family member represent different pieces of the puzzle. That it is not just one person who completes your puzzle…..rather, it is the combination of puzzle pieces, your connections, that go together to create a beautiful, ever-changing, ever growing picture.