Part & Parcel

“Part and parcel” is an idiom used since the 15th century and comprised of a conjunction with two synonymous nouns as bookends. When paired, the nouns produce a reflective phrase that doubles the power of its connotation. “Part” derives from the 11th-century Old French verb partir, meaning “to share a portion.” Parcel also originates from the French word parcelle, with a fourteenth century determination, signifying “a small part integral to the whole.”

Every effective recipe is made up of individual ingredients that are both “part and parcel.”  These ingredients each share a portion of their intrinsic virtue to contribute a beautiful essence, which is integral to the whole. What a beautiful concept. Oh, how I wish we all felt “part and parcel” in the recipe of life with each holding a share and each courageously contributing that share while allowing others to contribute theirs. Sharing our own portion of virtue and combining that virtue with the good in others helps us to become more complete and full—less flat and more full of flavor.

Oftentimes, we confuse more fullness with more drama. And who needs more drama in his or her life? Well, if it is of the right kind, I do. I need the drama of more energy and more motivation to work with and show greater appreciation and gratitude for others and their contributions. Yes, in our coalescing, recipes do often become more complex—far more complex. However, in recipes of relationships, that complexity builds a depth of character and layers of compassion which not achievable without the performance of our interactions. Those very interactions produce the parcel from its parts.

So, each time we select ingredients from the grocer, the market, pluck them directly from the stem, or harvest them from their homeland, may we take a moment to contemplate their individual worth. May we ponder their potential to interact with others and the opportunity to be heightened and enhanced for having done so. May we allow each one to feel a “part and parcel,” integral to the whole.


R. Shannon Mock


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