Life as a Mosaic

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin

A few weeks ago I was driving to work when I got caught in a horrendous traffic jam, a back-up caused by a two-car accident further down the highway.

While sitting there stewing, growing increasingly impatient and irritated, I said under my breath, “Man, if I had been just ten minutes earlier I could have avoided this whole mess, this stupid accident.” And then it occurred to me – if I had been ten minutes earlier I might have been involved IN the accident. I was humbled and chastened. “Sorry, Lord,” I prayed. “Sorry for being so impatient, selfish and short-sighted.”

It was a valuable lesson for me. It reminded me that at any particular moment if we focus too much on just one little problem or crisis, we might overlook the broader perspective; we might lose sight of the bigger picture.

As you know, a mosaic is a picture composed of hundreds or thousands of little pieces of stone, marble or glass. Now, if you get too close to a mosaic, and push your nose against it, you can only see a few individual pieces; not a pretty picture at all. But back-up a bit and you gain a better, fuller perspective. Then you can see how all of the little pieces work together to form a spectacular image. Life is like that too.

We all suffer at one time or another, to one degree or another. And often our suffering is far worse than the temporary inconvenience of a morning traffic jam. But whenever we suffer, we have two choices. Either we turn away from God in anger and despair, wrapping ourselves in self-pity; or we draw upon our faith, run to God, and place ourselves in his hands.

God is the Divine Artist who has designed the mosaic of our life. He sends us the good days and the bad, the moments of joy and sorrow. But we can’t see all that God sees. Only he has the perspective to understand how the pieces fit together. That’s why, in every situation we encounter, we need to rise above the moment, gain some perspective, and trust in his providence.

Something to think about: The next time you find yourself in some moment of inconvenience or irritation, remember, in the grand scheme of things, it’s probably not all that important.