Monday, September 13, 2010

Missing a Few Puzzle Pieces?

The art of simplicity is a puzzle of complexity.
~Douglas Horton

We spent the last week in Florida with my husband's parents. Actually, we spent it in their home, but neither one of them was home much. Dad was in a rehabilitation nursing home for therapy to strengthen him and Mom left nearly every day to spend much of the day with him. We helped with some things that needed to be done at the house from just general cleaning to replacing a faucet to power washing the slippery moss-covered cement of their entrance way to ridding their home of numerous wasps nests. The Princess enjoyed playing their Wii having the highest bowling score of 207 beating her father (even though she likes the boxing more) and we did go to the beach early one morning to watch the sunrise as they live on the east coast.

For many years, Mom used a room just for craft making and storing all the supplies, but now the table in that room is used for jigsaw puzzles. I really like putting puzzles together. I don't really have the time or space for them at home, so imagine my delight coming into a room where there is a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle just waiting to be put together: a winter scene of an American Indian on a white horse with four white wolves in an white birch forest. Beautiful! The pieces had very unique shapes too.

It was about a third done, but I finished it practically all by myself in about two days--puzzles just call me. This one, however, will remain unfinished forever as one piece was missing. I knew its shape. I knew what it should look like. I knew all that because of the surrounding well-fitted pieces clearly defined what would be needed to fill in that the hole. I asked my daughter if she had taken the missing piece because she learned that my uncle would take one piece of a puzzle so that he would always be the one to put in the very last piece. She thought it was cute so she did this a time or two, but not this time. Somehow I felt robbed of that long awaited for moment of final accomplishment, of completeness.

No matter. Another thousand piece puzzle now called to me. This one of a serene scene: a two story Victorian house with golden glows of light from each window and a lovely garden, even a collie lying on the brick walk. Some pieces had interesting shapes but not especially confusing. Done in two days. Too easy. But, quite a peaceful scene.

Then there was the one on which the Mom and Dad waved a white flag before I got there. This one was 1500 pieces with a lovely pastel background with five blue birds with yellow breasts on a dogwood tree branch in blossom. I began it too late in the week, so I did not finish it before we left, but I understood why they gave up on it. The subtlety in the background was a challenge of itself, but worse was that every piece was so similar in shape that it was very easy to get a piece in the wrong place and that one piece would affect how other pieces fit too.

I began to think, as I often tend to do, that there must be spiritual lessons in my jigsaw puzzle adventures. First, we are never truly finished. Second, we are never satisfied with our work for when we are not challenged. Third, we often fit things into our lives in our own way not always according to God's plan, but those wrong pieces we will eventually discover and put into their correct places under God's patience and grace.

Then my Lord brought my thoughts to this: What if I have been provided all the puzzle pieces but never saw the picture? What if I turn the puzzle over so that I did not even have the colors to help me solve it? What if I was completely blind so I could not even see the shapes?

That is how it seems with life sometimes. I know that it all fits together in God's Kingdom, but I cannot see the big picture. Sometimes I feel I have nothing to guide me or that I am completely blind to God's purpose. How am I to fit each piece together when I cannot see what it is supposed to be in the end?

Yet, God reminds me that the greatest joy was not in completing the puzzle, but finding that one piece that fit, each and every piece, each and every time.

~ My Lord, thank you for again reminding me that even in the unpleasant parts of my life, You are guiding me. I trust You to make me the pieces in my life that do not fit your purpose obvious to me, even when I am blind to the big picture. ~


  1. I can be obssessive about puzzles if I find one I like but Liddy's the one for puzzles. ☺ I still buy her them for birthdays.

  2. I LOVE puzzles! It was always a family tradition growing up that we spent our winter evenings building large puzzles together as a family since in the winter there was not much that could be done outside. I never thought of them in a spiritual way before, but as usual I am not suprised as you are much more mature that I in those matters :) Thank you for the lesson good friend!

  3. Ganeida, I guess I would say I get obsessive about them too, but often feel that I have more practical and creative pursuits I could be doing instead when I am at home.

    Birbitt, I just tend to look for spiritual meanings in everything, perhaps even in things when there is not one, because I want everything I do to have purpose, meaning, or some lesson in which I can give God glory so that I can justify it as being worth doing...or it just could be that I am weird. ;)

  4. PS: I love that the puzzle pieces form a tiger. I did notice, you know...☺ just forgot to comment.

  5. It is pretty cool, isn't it? I liked the idea of making an image from puzzle pieces that was not the puzzle itself. The bigger the picture of this painting is the harder it is to see the tiger. The things people create always amazes me!


Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.