I felt a sense of achievement after I finished the puzzle. Each of the 1000 pieces in its rightful place revealing a beautiful Venice scene. It would have been great if life was always such a neatly organised picture-perfect affair. But if you look carefully, you’ll see there is only one human being in the picture – the man steering the gondola. But he has no customers, neither are there signs of human life on the other gondolas nor at the romantic table. It is a bit of a sterile picture.
Life is pleasant when all fit nicely together, every puzzle piece in its place. Picture-perfect snapshot. But add some humans and life gets interesting and complicated. The wine has already been poured. Has the romantic meeting turned out not as romantic as intended?
Life is more like the process of building the puzzle. The pieces were all in a heap when I started. As usual, I started looking for the frame pieces but very quickly my eyes noticed some of the detail. Flowers. Water. Lanterns. Just doing one thing at a time can get a bit boring and therefore I started to put aside the flowers and water pieces as well. Getting the frame done first helped me understand the scale of the puzzle versus the size of the picture on the box. This helped me to visualise the size of the elements in the picture. My choice to multi-task, however, meant some frame pieces ended up in the heaps of flower and water pieces and a few ended up in the “not now” pile.
The frame through which we look at our lives will influence the importance we place on the elements making up our lives. The choices we make lead to consequences. Sometimes in trying to save time by doing more things simultaneously, we don’t notice all the detail in the process.
I wonder what would have been the effect if I ignored the frame pieces I was taught to find first and just focussed on the flowers and water first? I have noticed that seems to be the way little children built puzzles. Some of our responses in life are learned responses which might not always suit us that well. Could it be that my urge to look for the flower and water pieces simultaneously has less to do with boredom and more with who God created me to be?
There were some frustrating moments of just not getting that missing piece. I scratched multiple times through the pile of other pieces to find the 2 yellowish pieces in the top righthand corner. Finally, I found the one piece. The other piece was actually on the table from the start; I just had to rotate it 90 degrees.
How often in life do we fail to recognise the missing piece because we don’t want to rotate our perspective?
Then there were the really odd shaped pieces. It a sense it was easier to find their place in the puzzle because clearly nothing else would fit in their spots. More difficult to place was the “normal” pieces which I picked up time and again, rotated round and round, and still, they would not fit. Until, suddenly, they did fit! On the other side of the spectrum were a couple of water pieces that I just happened to recognise the exact tone of the next piece amongst the pieces still waiting to be fitted. I picked it up and it fitted perfectly in that spot. I really was amazed at my ability to recognise that two pieces would fit together when I only had colour or shape to go on. Then there was that piece with the tiny bit of red in the corner. I tried it for the gondola seats and put it down. I tried it for the restaurant awning and put it down. I half-heartedly tried it at various spots of red flowers. Only right at the end, with just a few gaps left, did I recognise its spot. It was the little last corner of the restaurant awning, I just needed to rotate it the correct way round.
Sometimes bits of our lives are like that. No matter how hard we try, we just don’t seem to be able to figure it out, or we could feel that the piece we need is missing. It is like the other puzzle I built a while back where some pieces were in fact missing. That can be really frustrating.
Sometimes there are parts of our lives that are just odd-shaped and we could feel like hiding it. But without that bit, our life would just not be complete. Sometimes it feels as if, through our choices and the decisions we have made, we might have lost pieces of the puzzle that is our life. Recently I sensed God say to me that even if I had tossed a piece of my life-puzzle into the ocean, He is able and willing to retrieve it and put my life back together again.
I am sure He is able and willing to do that for you too if you ask Him. He will guide you in rebuilding your life and making all its pieces fit together.