“Oh I’m looking for my missin’ piece, looking for my missin’ piece, so grease my knees and fleece my bees, I’m looking for my missing piece.”
So sings the Shel Silverstein’s black-and-white pie as it rolls through life in search of the one missing slice that will make it complete in his classic The Missing Piece.
The pie comes upon many potential prospects, but none of them fit just right. Once he finds the missing piece that is the perfect fit, they intertwine and roll together for a short season, but then the pie discards the piece and goes forward alone. The story is a combination of searching angst and self-satisfied individualism that leaves every reader with the question is there such a thing as “the one”, the person who is my perfect fit?
In an informal poll, the following answers were provided by friends, relatives and “experts”:
“There is no such thing as a perfect person who can complete us because we are all sinners and won’t be made perfect or complete until we get to heaven.” —College senior
“There are many people who could be our soulmate and through a combination of circumstances, personal traits and environmental factors, one person emerges as the right one.” —High school teacher
“Before we’re born into this life, we make agreements—soul contracts—with other souls and agree to learn certain lessons from each other. We may establish a soul agreement with someone in order to awaken a particular facet of our soul that up to that point in time had laid dormant.” —Spiritual Advisor and Reiki Instructor
These responses are all over the board and leave us to pick and choose how we define what we believe is the likely scenario for our own lives. The problem with this thinking is that our own heart driven, mind developed list of what we are looking for becomes the determining factor.
The Trouble With Lists
My list looked something like this when I was a twenty-something looking for “the one.”
1. Nothing like my dad
4. Good family
5. Handsome is a plus
Not the most discerning criteria. I was in love with a handsome Texas boy in college who I thought I’d marry, but it didn’t work out. I spent hours on the dorm room phone crying to my parents who kept assuring me that, “He is not what God has for you right now.”
Not what I wanted to hear.
Looking back on this, I was being faithless and selfish and God was being merciful. I learned to surrender my list to what His will for my life looked like and I started seeking after Him for the right person, surrendering my own selfish definitions. A peace came with knowing that, and a new realization too.
That realization was this: It isn’t about finding “the one.”
It is about walking in all the beauty and color of God’s will for my everyday life.
Given that many people believe that finding “the one” means eventually marrying “the one,” what Jesus has to say on marriage is helpful to keep in mind. He addresses the Pharisees questions about marriage and divorce in Matthew 19, “Not all men can receive this precept (fidelity in marriage), but only those to whom it is given…He who is able to receive it, let him receive it.”
Marriage is not for everyone, but that does not limit the adventure God has for our lives. Our role as collaborators with Him is to ask and receive the good He has for us in all stages and relationships He provides. “You have not because you ask not.”(James 4:2) If you are passionate about meeting a person to share your life with, ask God for your heart’s desire. He loves to grant your request when it is in accordance with His will, Psalm 21:2.
Don’t Even Look for ‘The One.’
As you walk into Starbucks to meet the potential person for the first time, approach them with open-hearted faith, rather than a list of criteria you expect them to fulfill. Let go of the expectation that this person could be “the one” from the start. What a burden that is to place upon a vulnerable new beginning.
Enjoy them with the eyes and heart of Christ for the beautiful creation they are and trust the Lord to take it where He will. “I will walk about in freedom for I have sought your precepts.” (Psalm 119:45). Your shared peppermint latte might not be the first step toward a trip down the aisle, but it may bring freedom and an expansion of the heart to love others as Jesus desires.
Psychotherapist and former monk Thomas Moore has written much on the subject of soulmates. “A soulmate is someone to whom we feel profoundly connected, as though the communicating and communing that take place between us were not the product of intentional efforts, but rather a divine grace.”
It is all grace for us. Our challenge is to surrender our way and our will in the search for soul, for a mate, for meaning and trust it as divine.
Margaret Philbrick is a contributing editor of the collection, Everbloom - Stories of Deeply Rooted and Transformed Lives. You can follow her writing at www.margaretphilbrick.com