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  • Sarah Raad

Puzzles

“If you can trust a puzzle company to make sure every piece is in the box to complete the puzzle, then why can’t you trust God that every piece of your life is there for a reason?” (Anonymous).

The Last Judgement (Byzantine Painting)

I am terrible at doing jigsaw puzzles! I find them terribly irritating things to work on! It is very frustrating to try to find all the pieces and figure all the parts out!


A few of my sisters (and my eldest son) are expert jigsaw-puzzlers. They sort of enjoy the frustration of trying to fit everything together and finding all the pieces in the box.


A jigsaw puzzle is an interesting little thing because every single part of it is important. If one little piece is missing then the finished product will be nowhere nearly as beautiful – and in fact, the puzzle could never be finished at all. And what that really means is that the plain white background piece in the top corner of the puzzle is equally as important as the bright piece that belongs in the centre of the image.


When my son (or my siblings) are working on jigsaw puzzles, there is one rule in the house… And that rule is that nobody is allowed to vacuum underneath or around the table where the puzzle is being completed until it is finished. You see, jigsaw puzzles can take many weeks or months to complete (particularly if they are large and complicated), and during the time that the puzzle is being worked on, great care must be taken not to lose any piece. And so it is that while a puzzle is being actively worked on, the area around the puzzle must be protected so that the puzzle itself can be protected.

I have been thinking about jigsaw puzzles over the last few days because they remind me of my own life.

You see, there are so many parts of my life that I would rather not have to deal with. I – like every other living soul – has my own (albeit limited) experience of grief and tragedy. And often I think to myself, “If only I did not have that problem or that sorrow or that grief.” But – upon reflection – the grief in my life is like the plain white background puzzle-pieces that nobody seems to care about until they get to the end of the puzzle. While those crosses may not seem as beautiful or important as all the other life experiences that I have, they are just as important as the happiest moments of my life – because without those pieces the puzzle of my life would be incomplete.


And that is not all. After all, jigsaw puzzles can take a long time to complete. There is no rush – slow and steady to get the job done – they cannot be hurried along, which is (I am told) the attraction of the things. And life is like that too. You see, I cannot rush through the sorrowful, mundane or merely unpleasant experiences of my life any more than I can complete a complicated puzzle in one day. And that means something… It means that – just as a puzzle takes time to develop the whole beautiful picture – so too do the experiences of my life take time to form my soul.


And just as I take care around the puzzle table to protect each piece of the puzzle while it is a work-in-progress, so too should I take care of each experience of my life so that I can give thanks for each Cross and Blessing God sends to me… For the Crosses and the Blessings are merely two beautiful parts of the one beautiful puzzle-picture.


And I guess, the most important thing about puzzles comes down to trust…


You see, there is a certain element of trust involved when you open up a brand new jigsaw puzzle. You simply have to trust that the box contains all the necessary pieces for you to complete the puzzle even though it does not make any sense to you when you pour out the pieces onto the table…


And I have been thinking about that. Because “If you can trust a puzzle company to make sure every piece is in the box to complete the puzzle, then why can’t you trust God that every piece of your life is there for a reason?” (Anonymous).


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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