There have been times in my life when I’ve had experiences that don’t seem to make sense.

Some of them have left me reeling, emotionally bruised, and physically tired; others have simply seemed random and almost nonsensical. But once I’ve lived through each experience and have had a little bit of space to reflect, I’m often left with the same question: “Why?”

Why did I even need to go through that in the first place?

Some of the “why” questions have been big ones–ones that caused me to question everything about where I was and where I was going. Why did this have to alter the course of my life? Why did I have to experience such pain or trauma? Why did I have to get sick? Why did I have to walk through that fire instead of around it? Why didn’t that relationship work out? Why can’t things be easier?

And some of the “why” questions have simply left me curious about their seemingly random place in my journey. Why did I feel so interested in that business path when it was obviously a dead end? Why did I meet that person but then we fell out of contact? Why did I have such a passionate inclination toward that hobby for such a short time?

Whether it was a big or a small “why,” that question has always been an important one to me. I like to reflect on my journey, finding meaning and lessons to be learned from each experience. For a long time, I’ve felt like my life is a large puzzle that takes decades to finish–and each piece has its individual place in the bigger picture. Each piece serves a purpose, even if it is to just fill in the edges or is one of many blue pieces in the sky.

And then, every once in a while, there are those pieces that bridge everything in a way that couldn’t have ever made sense by looking at the piece individually.  Usually we don’t see how that piece fits in for many years, until we have the area around it filled in a bit more. And yet once it fits in place, we realize how important it was to putting the entire picture in context.

The value of a puzzle piece is not how it looks like on its own. It’s not even how it looks like when connected to the pieces immediately surrounding it.

The value of a puzzle piece is how it fits into the larger picture.

But every piece is a part of me. Every piece–every experience–adds to the bigger picture. And if I look at those experiences wisely and without judgement, each experience has the potential to make a more magnificent picture at the end as long as I recognize its context and purpose.

Right now, I’m holding a lot of “why” questions from the past twenty years in my hands and realizing that I’ve finally begun to find their places in the larger puzzle. There have been many experiences that, at the time, seemed like unnecessary struggle or passion projects taken on in vain because they never amounted to anything that felt tangible.

This year, as Handcrafted Honey Bee has started to evolve into a company with a very specific mission, some of those seemingly random puzzle pieces have started to fall into place. We’ve become more than a simple skin care company or even a DIY kit company. We’re looking to build something much, much bigger–and all of those experiences that I wondered about throughout my life are becoming the foundation upon which this company will stand.

I’m going to start sharing some of these experiences with you, as well as some of the reflections I’ve had as we’ve begun slowly bring Handcrafted Honey Bee into a different sphere–one where our goal is to make a lasting difference rather than simply provide fun but fleeting experiences. You’re about to see me go a little deeper on this blog on a regular basis.

And I’ll admit, I’m needing to pull out my “Brave You” card, because that sort of vulnerability feels a little scary.

But I want us to be brave together. To look at those puzzle pieces that don’t seem to fit and to have the courage to continue building the bigger picture. To recognize that big things are happening in each of our lives that will shape our tomorrows, our children’s tomorrows, and even the tomorrows of people we’ll never meet.

We’re all working on our individual puzzles. We’re all asking similar questions. And we’re all hoping that the end result feels worth it–that we can sit back at the end, satisfied, and say: “That was great fun.”

I believe we will, as long as we make the joy of the journey a priority even as we anticipate the final picture. Trust me–the end result is beautiful. We just need to be patient as the pieces fall into place.

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