The Puzzle of Life

I was given a puzzle a couple of months ago from a friend of mine, it had 1,500 pieces. I havenít put together a puzzle since I was a kid. Isnít it funny how we stop doing certain things when we grow up: puzzles, coloring, playing dolls, hop scotch, hide and go seek. Things that brought us so much joy as a child, we stop doing when we reach a certain age - itís a shame, isnít it?

I must admit, I really enjoyed the puzzle. Although very frustrating at times, it was a challenge. Each time I found a piece that fit, it was extremely rewarding.

Have you ever realized how many similarities there are between puzzles and life? In a puzzle each piece plays such an important part in the big picture. In life, itís people and events who play the important parts. As with pieces in a puzzle, each of us are unique, special in our own way. Although we may appear similar, there are no two alike. Ironically itís our differences that make us fit.

While I was working on this puzzle, there was one piece that I was sure belonged in this particular spot. But it didnít fit. I just kept going back to it and trying to make it fit, forgetting that I tried it already. I guess I had my mind set on the fact that I felt it belonged there.

I thought about how many times Iíve done that in my life. Tried to make things happen that just werenít meant to be. Iíd try over and over again even to the point of forcing it Ė but it wasnít meant to beÖ and nothing I did changed that.

If you do many puzzles, youíll know what itís like to spend so much time looking for one specific piece. I thought I knew what it looked like, it seemed so obviousÖ but I couldnít find it. I got so wrapped up into finding that one piece that I couldnít see beyond it. I got frustrated and decided to let it go and step away from it for a while. When I came back to it later, I found it immediately. It was right in front of me all along.

Life has been like that for me sometimes. I try so hard to understand why things happen the way they do. I search high and low for the answers and sometimes the answers are right in front of me. It isnít until I stop, take a step back, breathe and let it go Ė that the answers find me.

As I sat there looking at the pieces in this puzzle, I started thinking about the ďpiecesĒ in my life: my family, my friends, events, milestones and celebrations. Thereís such a mixture of good and bad, joy and tears, happiness and sorrow.

I thought about all those pieces that I didnít feel were important or had purpose. I reflected on all those pieces in my life that caused me to ask whyÖ ďWhy me, God?ĒÖ ďWhy this?Ē. I suddenly realized that it was because of those pieces that other pieces were able to fall into place.

Everything in our lives happens for a reason. Each event, whether good or bad, signifies a piece of the puzzle. You take away one piece and it upsets the entire harmony of the finished product. I finally understand that even though some of the pieces in my life arenít pleasant and many of them bring me pain and heartache, without them I couldnít move on. No matter how unimportant I think they are, they bring me one step closer to wholeness.

We canít possibly look at the pieces of our lives right now and understand the important role that each one of them plays, there are too many holes and the picture isnít clear. But I know that when my journey in this life comes to an end, and that final piece is put into place, Iím going to look back and understand. Iíll no longer wonder why there was so much pain, or why certain people came and went in my life. And Iíll be able to see the complete picture and the beauty that went into each piece that made it whole.

Until then, I will continue to live on in faith. Knowing and trusting that all the pieces that I need are there and that it only takes a matter of time before they fall into place. Remembering that there is a big picture, a plan for me, that Iím unable to see right now. Believing that each piece of my life, even the painful ones, have purpose and play an important role. And when Iím weak, I will seek strength through prayer. I do all this in hopes that on that glorious day, when Gods masterpiece of me is finally complete, He will then whisperÖ ďWell doneĒ.

© June 2004 Amy Toohill

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