Tuesday, August 24, 2010

When You Can't Find a Piece of Your Puzzle

Thirteen. The number of people with different schedules that buzz around this home on a daily basis.

Individual. A gracious description of the varied personalities.

Puzzles. Our lives in different shapes, sizes, number of pieces.

Every day we pour these pieces out on the kitchen table. Some are light, some dark, some small and seemingly obscure, some large and unignorable, some with serrated edges, some smooth.

So many pieces piles on top of each other and not enough workspace can be frustrating.

I just want to work on my puzzle today.

She reaches for another piece of hers and bumps me off balance and doesn't apologize but rather looks at me in disgust for being in her way. He can't find his corner pieces, and doesn't even know where to start, and blasts the whole family for hours describing the issue. She is bored with hers, She needs help with hers, He wants me to look at and enjoy his...

I just want to work on my own puzzle today.

I finally pull away. Just gather up all my pieces and go behind closed doors.

There. Now I can lay them out, and get some organization going, and have things in place in no time!

But time and effort produce only a very gap-filled puzzle. I study and study and study but there seem to be no more pieces for these holes. Some I can't seem to fit in anywhere. Maybe I left some pieces in the other room? Maybe I couldn't find some because of all their mess...

Determined to have one day where everything is neatly done, I rummage through their pieces, trying to ignore the banter I am overhearing. They've got to be here somewhere....

And then I see it. It looks exactly the right size and shape, yes, I am sure this fits with my puzzle. But wait, eyebrows furrow and yes, this is unmistakably a part of her puzzle. Well, what could it hurt to try it anyway? I hesitate, then ask if she minds if I give it a try in mine. She says she doesn't mind, and almost seems grateful.

It fits!

She smiles and says "thank you, I don't know how I could have figured that out on my own".

I smile back. I'm happy I could help. And a gap is filled. Everyone is a winner here. Now, back to my searching.

Again, again, and again, I see them. Surely they must fit, they are exactly right, only they are definitely part of their puzzles...

Then I notice hers. She has a solid framework there and just one piece missing in that section... "hold on just a second..." I bring a piece of mine to her. "Could you maybe help me with this?"

She smiles and cheerfully helps settle my piece in her puzzle. Those colors and shapes together are complimentary. We agree it is even kind of pretty.

One at a time, we work together, noticing things that others would have missed, and by the end of the day we have completely shared everything and stand back to admire our good work.

It is beautiful. A large, elaborate picture of a richly ornamented bride. One complete piece from many puzzles.

We sigh in satisfaction and talk about how beautifully perfect all our puzzles are together, making a much better and complete picture than we could on our own. We compliment each others efforts. We appreciate the differences.

We finally say our goodnights and off to our rooms we go. We fall asleep with smiles and the wonder of working together.

Whispered prayer on my lips, I hope we will remember this by morning...

"If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us."
~1 John 4:12

"So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us."
~Romans 12:5&6a

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