a missing peace

Posted on March 19, 2014

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I, like millions of other people around the world, have become obsessed with the missing Malaysian flight 370.

It’s not just that an airplane full of people has disappeared without a trace for over ten days or that strange and unexplained data has surfaced about its deviation from both path and protocol. Sure, that makes it mysterious. But it’s the missing pieces of the story that make it anguishing.

Each morning I log on to see the latest updates and to read the most recent articles and blog posts on MH370. Everything from a terrorist hijacking to a meteor to aliens to pilot suicide has been suggested, although very little proof can be garnered to support any of these speculations.

The truth is that no one really knows what happened and the not knowing is driving us all crazy. There are a lot of missing elements of this story, although if we look at the situation logically, a probable conclusion can be drawn-a conclusion, I may add, that doesn’t blame people who are most likely innocent or insult this tragedy with ridiculous musings. (The best, most rational theory I’ve heard thus far is here.).

Until we figure out what happened, we’re left with a story that has a lot of missing pieces. And human beings don’t deal well with stuff like this because when there’s a missing piece, there’s a missing peace.

The other day I was listening to a local radio show where this was made very obvious. Women were calling into the show to have the radio personalities contact their ex-flames. According to the women, the men they had been dating broke up with them. Because they weren’t completely positive why they were dumped, they were hoping the morning show could give them the closure they needed.

“I just want to know if he dumped me to hook back up with his ex,” one woman said. “Then I’ll let this go.”

“I want to know what it is about me he didn’t like,” another caller stated. “We only went out a few times, things seemed to be going really well and I’m not sure what I did wrong.”

“He said he wasn’t ready to settle down yet but I won’t be able to move on until I find out the real reason he broke up with me,” someone else claimed.

All I could think about (as I was listening to these stories) was how these women were letting the missing pieces of the story hold them back from moving forward. These callers convinced themselves that until they knew the whole story, until they figured out why the relationship ended, only then could they get on with their lives.

In life, however, it is rare that we are able to learn everything about anything. How many times do we really and truly know the whole story about anyone? How accurately can we gauge the real reasons for anyone’s behavior or know all of the angles of a situation? Each day we’re given only snippets of an event, one person’s perception, self-filtered information. If we’re really honest with ourselves, we’ll realize that our whole lives are actually full of relationships with missing pieces.

Now, we may make assumptions and we may fill in the blanks to make ourselves feel better. We may try to come up with possible theories because we’re uncomfortable admitting that we don’t know the whole truth. We may spend hours and hours guessing because that’s easier than taking a step back and looking at the situation in a detached way that can give us some perspective.

The women calling into the radio station were dumped. Logically, they should realize that this alone was enough of a reason to move on.

When you’re in a relationship with someone who breaks up with you (or treats you like crap), you don’t have to play Agatha Christie to figure out why. You don’t have to become a psychotherapist and analyze the other person’s childhood. You don’t need the whole story, actually, because the part of it you’ve been given is enough.

I know missing pieces are tempting to obsess over. I’m guilty of it, too, but it doesn’t really get us anywhere. More often than not, it just holds us back from facing reality and dealing with the hurt that accompanies accepting the part of the truth that we are shown.

I hope, for the sake of the people who had dear friends and family aboard flight 370, that the media will stop exploiting the missing pieces of the story in order to keep the drama going. I hope they will stop the character assassination of people who have proven thus far to be noble and good. I hope the plane, or some part of it, will be found soon, so that people can fully face this awful event and accept the reality of what’s happened to the people they love.

We may never have all of the answers to why things happen. In the case of the missing Malaysian plane, more information would probably provide a much-needed catalyst for healing and redemption.

But most of us don’t need all of the details of a situation. Even if we don’t know the whole story, we’re usually given plenty of information to figure out when we need to move on.

Knowing all the pieces doesn’t bring peace. It’s making a conscious effort to let go that does.        

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Posted in: Letting Go