Gosh, people are a mess

Do you ever feel that way? I find myself saying, “What is WRONG with people?” when I’m frustrated for any of a variety of reasons.

  • Did they really think cutting me off in traffic would gain them an advantage of more than one car length?
  • Can they seriously not hear how they just interrupted to turn the conversation back to themselves . . . again?
  • Don’t they get it that the promises of that politician are empty?

As if I’ve got it together and they don’t.

jigsaw puzzleMy husband’s uncle is a great lover of jigsaw puzzles — the 1,000 piece, really challenging ones that, as we used to say in the South, “could make a preacher cuss”. He can spend hours focused on one of these things, not giving up until he finishes it, which by the way, he always does. And then he starts another. He’s amazing.

There’s something about interacting with and understanding people, especially those I care about (and even those I don’t), that reminds me of those puzzles.

People are a challenge. They are endlessly frustrating and frequently annoying. Sometimes I just want to push away from the table and quit, muttering that there has to be a better “hobby”.

The thing is, people don’t come in a box with a glossy picture of how they’re supposed to look and even if they did, we don’t have all the pieces necessary to “finish” them.

As well as I might think I know those I’m closest to, some of what makes them “tick” will always be hidden from me. I’ll never have all the answers to what motivates them, why they respond to me as they do, what regrets they have, who has hurt them, the secrets they harbor. So many things are impossible for me to know, and of course, they’ll never fully know those things about me, either.

We all understand different things about each other — we all have pieces to the puzzle and we think we know how it’s supposed to look — but none of us has perfect insight into anyone else.

Do I need to fully understand others? Not gonna happen. Do I need to have the complete picture? Good luck with that. Can I love them anyway? Of course. I can hold out hope that the good things I do know about them will form the solid edges of the puzzle and I’ll discover other positive qualities that fit within that framework as I go along.

Yes, people ARE  a mess, myself included. And I’m going to keep being frustrated with them (and they with me) as long as, well, I’m me and they’re them.

But it helps me to remember that the pieces that complete their puzzle . . . the pieces I don’t have but that make them who they are . . .  those do exist.

God was pleased to create them in all their complexity and mystery. In His hands the puzzle comes together to reveal a deeply loved child created in His image, whose existence He intended from the foundation of the world and whose completion He will accomplish.

Whether I ever “get the picture” or not.


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About Diane Rivers

Diane is a native Floridian whose career as an FBI Agent got her transferred to the North. She's retired from that gig now and "repurposed" as a freelance writer, author, and sometimes poet who blogs about the bumpy, bone-jostling ride of her “workaround” life. She loves Jesus, her family, black coffee, kayaking, biking, and hiking, and she looks forward to eternity with the One who will make all things beautiful. (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

6 thoughts on “Gosh, people are a mess”

  1. I enjoyed this piece so much as it goes along with my theory that everyone has a story. You may not understand because you can’t walk in someone’s shoes but you can always listen. After years of analyzing and trying to figure people out now I just try to accept and hope they can do likewise. This was much welcomed, great timing. Thanks!!!

    1. You make such a good point about listening. Now THAT is a lost art. I think you’re absolutely right that everyone has a story and those stories can explain a lot if we just pay attention. Few people have a long enough attention span these days, though. Thanks for your observations, Jacque!

  2. Thanks so much for this great reminder. it made me think a bit about how I can’t always even make sense of my own actions… doing this or that without always knowing the why of it. We really are mysteries!

    1. Yes, that strikes a chord with me – I often feel like saying, “What is WRONG with me?” I’m as much of a conundrum to myself sometimes as others are. Humans, I tell ya.

Your feedback is welcome!