Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Puzzles and Other Life Saving Devices

I bought a puzzle a few weeks ago...

Growing up I used to spend A LOT of time putting puzzles together.  Then I went for YEARS without even seeing one.  Two years ago, I was reintroduced to them in a most peculiar way.

I had a doc appointment...every day, 5 days a week, for 8 weeks...and every day, there it was...a puzzle just waiting for my attention.

Having grown up with puzzles, I was instantly drawn to it...but as the days passed by, i realized it held more than just my attention.

Every day I walked into the lobby, preparing myself each time to face the people who would bare my chest and the machine that would do strange things to that part of my body.  It was such a strange feeling to experience that I never did develop the necessary sense of humor that would have helped me fare so much better.  I don't think I have ever felt more alone and isolated in my whole life.

But always, the puzzle waited for me.  I'd check in and immediately sit down to piece the cardboard colors together. 

It began to have a calming effect on my soul.  It took my mind off the inevitable.  It put my thoughts on hold as I focused on making a whole out of all the pieces...kinda like how I felt my life was...in pieces, never to be or to feel whole again.

I don't know exactly what day it was or which puzzle I was working to piece together; but somewhere along the way, I began to not feel so all alone--even the people who bared my chest daily didn't seem so alien anymore.  Somehow, the pieces started coming together, and I could start making out the "pictures" of my life--my future. 

There are times when the Lord takes the yuckiness of our lives, and He draws us to Himself just so He can reveal Himself to us in such intimate ways--ways in which our family or friends are completely unable to even touch.  This was one of those times, and He used the puzzle.

I don't think I ever saw even one of those puzzles completely finished, nor did I ever find out the "rest of the story" for the many folks who crossed my path at that puzzle table--whose conversations I will cherish because we were all experiencing the same thing...invasion...change...loss...fear...uncertainty...and we found unity in working to put the puzzle pieces together--however, I think that was of God's perfect design and one of His many lessons taught me during this surreal time in my life.

I'm really just now beginning to piece together all that happened that summer 2 years ago and the lessons He shared with me during that time.  But just like the puzzle I bought a few weeks ago, it takes time to sort and separate and finally put together, piece by piece, the beautiful picture unseen in each colorful jigsaw. 

The biggest lesson God gave me was that it sometimes isn't about the picture...it may be more about the process, and what happens during the process and what we allow to happen in the process.  What, or Who, do we trust?

"But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, That I may declare all Your works."  Psalm 73:28

It is because of His works that I can declare that my cup continues to runneth over...