Why you and I are like tiles in a mosaic

Consider one single tile in a mosaic.

Examine it closely.

Probably it is of just one colour, and has little in the way of texture.

Does it have beauty of its own?

Well, perhaps.

But where it truly comes into its own is when you gradually move your eye back from the singular to take in the plural, when you realise that this one small square of colour is actually a component part of a much bigger picture.


Some lucky tiles play important parts.

Perhaps they form the eye of some person represented in the mosaic, and since the eye of an observer is always drawn towards the eye of a picture’s subject, it’s their good fortune to receive more than their fair share of attention.

Others have seemingly less important supporting roles, making up a background or a piece of the sky.

However, it can be blindingly obvious when ancient mosaics have just a single tile missing, rather like the irritation caused by a computer screen with a dodgy pixel.

The truth is that every tile has a part to play, and it’s their coming together that turns a chip of clay or stone into something with great meaning.

I think that in some ways you and I are rather like mosaic tiles.

We may be able to exist reasonably well on our own, but where we really come into our own is when we’re part of something bigger than us.

How do we pull this off?

I think there’s one very simple strategy which is to focus on those who are closest to us.

Spreading warmth, goodwill and love to others is a pretty perfect way of feeling that you’re not alone.

It’s probably not easy to do so if you’re feeling down in the dumps—but perhaps that’s actually the most important time to give and therefore receive: to feel connected.

5 thoughts on “Why you and I are like tiles in a mosaic

  1. Today is a meaningful one for me as my family are meeting together to scatter my parents ashes. These words on today’s MOODNUDGE are very apposite as each family member reflects a little unique aspect of our picture of our parents and grandparents as we remember them. Thank you.

    1. Oh Pam, I do hope you can share this analogy with your family especially today…may it go as well as can be.

  2. I’ve never felt I’ve fitted in,anywhere. I just pretend to others that I do. So this struck a chord with me as I can see that picture with the missing tile,it is spoilt,so maybe I do fit in somewhere ,in the background .
    Thanks Jon

  3. I finally feel like I’ve found my “fitting in” space volunteering with dogs at the Humane Society. I’m just a little cog in their giant wheel, but I truly gain more than I give to the dogs and people I interact with there. I feel appreciated in a way that I never have before and it feels wonderful! Your column expressed that exactly. Thank you!

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