Lost and headless

This little piece of wood is an error, despite its check-mark shape.

I came across this little piece of wood unexpectedly, in a place I should not have found it.  It should not have been made like this.  It should have been like its companions:

But somewhere in the manufacturing process, the error was made and the little piece of wood was lost, headless and bent among its mates.

Sometimes, as we make our way through the world, we find ourselves looking a lot like everyone else, but yet fundamentally different.  We fit in the box, but we are not built fundamentally for the same job as everyone else.

But being unable to do its particular job does not mean that our little piece of wood is not able to do other things.  It may be the catalyst for fire in just the right place.  It may be a shim to help something get to a new height.

We have no idea what a little piece of wood can do or be, just as we have no idea what each of us can do or be.  We have no idea what power we can have.  We usually have no idea what purpose each of us has, but we don’t need to know.  We have a choice about what we wish to believe in, however.

This little piece of wood went into the fire, just as it was getting started. Along with the kindling and the wood, it played a role in getting the fire started in our fireplace this morning.  The fire probably would have started without this one little piece of wood, but fire would not have lasted (safely) without wood.  Each little piece has its place.

Each of us has our place, regardless of our shape or whether we appear to be fit for the job.

As citizens and cities, we have choices at every turn to create places and spaces for people to be everything they can be.  Every citizen has her/his place.  We don’t need to leave anyone lost and headless.

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Join me and my colleague Marilyn Hamilton as we host 50 visionaries in the Integral City 2.0 expo and eLab from September 4-27.  We aim to reinvent the city.

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