June 1, 2015

The Jigsaw People of this Puzzle World

Life is a puzzle and we are all jigsaw pieces, trying to make something of the world.

Each of us have our own little life-puzzle that we have to fit together every day. A child's is simple and has fewer pieces to deal with. It makes more sense to put together because there is a surplus of youthful innocence and eagerness to work with the few pieces they have.  The colors are bright, the picture is appealing, the edges are smooth and straight, and they enjoy everything about them in their little puzzle world.

But as we get older and begin to have more doubts and loves and fears, responsibilities, chaos, and joy, the picture starts to change. What was once clear and defined becomes more confusing, since it has a lot more pieces that need a place, and the edges are rough; there are no more straight lines.  The colors darken with our deeper understanding of a messed up, scary world, and the picture no longer makes any sense. No matter how you tilt your head, you can't see what the picture is, but you still have to add pieces and pieces to the jumbled pile, hoping that something beautiful will turn out.

As we struggle valiantly to make sense of it all, little do we realize that right next door, or across the street, there's another person with a puzzle of their own.  Everywhere you look, each person has a life that needs to be sorted out, put together, and built up, one piece at a time.  Some of us have lives that are bright and cheery, the colors on the jigsaw tiles are bold and beautiful, even tough there's still not a complete picture. Others are shunned because of their puzzle.  Their puzzle-life is so dark and obscure that they feel that their whole world is an abyss without a trace of color, no picture, no beauty, no light, love, or passion. Their's is a puzzle far darker than yours, and the edges are rougher than a jagged cliff where it seems that no beauty can ever penetrate.

But what if we were to put all the pieces together?  All the pieces from everyone's puzzle, could we combine our rough edges with a smooth one, and connect them so that they all fit?  The world is made up of individuals, with individual stories or puzzles. But in reality, if you step back and let it all shrink into proportion, we are all one piece of a greater picture. Each piece in our story that seems so huge or monumental is a tiny drop of color in one sea of paint.

When we combine our puzzles with someone else's, we see the formation of a picture, more clear and interesting than our isolated one. The colors blend and the chaos doesn't seem so glaring. As more and more individuals come together all the bleak pasts and hopeful futures merge into a larger, brighter story. There are dark spots, but they line up and blend beautifully with another colorful life.  The woman down the street who was abused, with dark, ugly colors in her puzzle, found a woman with gentle hands to help her, whose own puzzle has a dark streak, but learned to find the color in the world.

We need each other, we humans. Life would look so drab and impossible without them. Of course, some people can't fit together like others. It will take a lifetime of rearranging, turning, and moving to find a place where we fit beautifully with another soul. That's what families are meant for; even in the searching and scrambling to fit in, there should always be a place to call home and know that you belong.

And we all belong. No piece is not meant to fit in the puzzle of life. Jigsaw tiles will forever be added to the edges, increasing the size and picture. The old ones will fade and lose their color over time, but they're no less important after they are dead, because they're still part of the bigger picture. While we are living, breathing, jigsaw tiles, we should never give up or give in, because just when all things seem utterly desperate and impossible, we'll be ushered into a place where we fit with other souls who know our pain, with souls who can heal and help us, and other jigsaw pieces that fill our empty spots. We are never useless, because if we live the full life, we'll find that even though we need help, we help others too, because no jigsaw in this life is cut with all holes, but with circles or squares to fill another person up.

Life is a puzzle, a mystery, and an awful mess sometimes, but we are the pieces that make a great picture. We're the jigsaw people of this puzzle world, and we create a story of passion, beauty, sorrow, and ultimately, the greatest picture that this world can know.  We fit together, despite our wounds, despite our colors, despite our differences to paint the perfect picture of the Maker's love. We see it on a small scale when we step back and enjoy the view, but every day, every circumstance adds another piece to our lives and another's until the end of time when we will finally have a bird's eye view of the place we called home. The puzzle will be completed and we'll take a sigh and shed a few tears; all the work, good and bad, has led to the moment when we are enveloped, wholly and holy in the love of the Maker, who created the ultimate picture, who hand made every piece, and even when we kicked and screamed, pushed us into the places we best belong.

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