Not “But” but “And”

When I am putting a puzzle together, the first thing I do after dumping the pieces out of the box is to turn them all right side up. The next step is to divide the pieces into edge pieces and center pieces. If it’s a very complicated or large puzzle, I might then sort the pieces by dominant color.  Things are easier and make more sense when they are sorted.  I think that’s pretty normal and a common process people go through when putting together puzzles.

Most of us like to live our lives that way as well. We like to have things sorted: like/ dislike, enjoy/ avoid, good/ bad, black/ white. We want to package things up so they are more manageable and easier to know where they fit in our set of life rules, values and priorities.

Try something with me and consider the feeling of these sentences:

I went to the parade, but it rained.
I trusted my friend, but he didn’t keep my secret.
I took a chemistry class, but I didn’t do well.

These comments seem to have an implied “period” at the end.

 
but puzzle piece

Now see how that feeling changes when one little word is changed.

I went to the parade, and it rained.
I trusted my friend, and he told my secret.
I took a chemistry class, and I didn’t do well.

These statements feel like the listener could respond, “Okay. So then what happened?”

And” feels more accepting to me. It feels more grace-full. It feels more hope filled. It feels like there is joy mixed in with disappointment. “There was good, and there was also bad.” In a way the “and” statements feel like the negative is less powerful which make the statements as a whole more empowering for the person speaking. “Yes, something bad happened, and life went on.” It also feels messier, less sorted, less clear and less manageable.

And that, my friend, is real. It is life.

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