"Do now, do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die." [St. Angela Merici]

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Puzzling Pieces

By Micky Wolf

If you happen to drop by our home on any given day, you will likely notice a jigsaw puzzle in progress on a corner of the kitchen table. Apart from personally enjoying the process of putting the pieces together to reveal an interesting scene, I have discovered the piles of odd shapes and brilliant hues seem to invite the visitor to “sit and rest for a spell”—an activity more associated with bygone generations who did not hesitate to appreciate the importance of slowing down or pausing, if only for a few minutes.

People who enjoy assembling jigsaw puzzles do so for various reasons:
  • it’s a relaxing past time that allows the mind to wonder, as well as wander
  • seeing a picture come together is satisfying
  • two  or more people can share the experience and bond in the process
  • it is not a rushed activity as there is satisfaction with each new connection
  • the puzzle, even incomplete, usually reveals something interesting of the larger picture
As unique as each puzzle may be, there are some tried and true approaches for assembling the pieces:

  • turn the pieces over so as to clearly see the imprinted image
  • look for the pieces with one straight edge to connect and form the border
  • gather pieces of similar coloring that may be part of a particular object or scene
  • note unusual or predominate features of pieces, or the picture, which may serve as pivotal assembly points
  • set aside a group of pieces with more subtle characteristics for later, i.e., blue sky or gold field
Sitting with many puzzles over a multitude of years, it has occurred to me that God is, in so many ways, the ultimate and greatest ‘assembler’. He not only breathes life into our being from its tiniest molecular beginnings, He continues by persevering with us in the ongoing transformation and revelation of our uniqueness as a wonderful “masterpiece”, created in His image and likeness.

God has a design and plan unique to each of us…

  • In the early stages of allowing God to carry out His work in and through us, we sense it in our feelings, in our thoughts, in the inmost parts of our being. As He begins to ‘turn over’ the pieces of who we are, we notice movement, changes. Up, down, over there, now here. It may be disconcerting, yet we know it is necessary in order for the complete picture to emerge.  
  • We eventually realize God is pretty effective at discovering our edges—some in need of sharpening and refining, others ready to serve as part of the strong foundation upon which He can build the fullness of who He has created us to be. And so He moves our pieces—the multitude of pieces of self—into the place He alone knows will be the best fit.
  • A bump here? A dark spot there? Makes little difference to God. He is the Master at taking what we think are our strengths, weaknesses, good and bad stuff, mixing it all together and laying it out in a harmonious blend of intriguing integration. In doing so, He is always going for the bigger picture.
  • The longer we stay the course and allow the Master to do His work, the less likely we are to fight His touch. We may not always enjoy what He is doing, but we learn that in surrendering our will to His design and plan, our life is becoming more peace-filled and peaceful. Joy—in all things—becomes a reality of our heart rather than a statement of our intellect.
God revels in creating and revealing…

  • We have plenty of evidence in all of creation to see, feel and know God takes great delight in His handiwork. God moves, beyond the limitations of our human understanding, connecting this piece with that one, and then adding another. With great love He assembles the assorted aspects of self—our personality, the gifts we have been given, our wounded and peculiar pieces—into something wonderful we can barely envision in the moments of the movement.
  • God never rushes about as He creates, connects and reveals. For Him, each piece of who we are contributes to our becoming more whole and holy. Nothing is insignificant or without meaning and purpose. There are no misfits in the pieces of God’s Kingdom.
  • Whether we are at the beginning, somewhere in the middle, or nearing the end of our journey as part of something bigger, God sees beauty in what is being revealed, moment by moment, piece by piece.
For our part, the process of being ‘pieced together’ will involve myriad thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Some days it will seem our box of pieces has been turned upside down. On other occasions, we will barely notice being transported from one place to other as edges and shapes come together in perfect alignment. 

When it is all said and done as we near the end of life here—when the last piece is carefully set amidst all the others—we may then experience the greatest blessing of all. We discover the amalgam of pieces God brought together have been cast into a masterwork of beauty and richness that stretches beyond the horizon in every direction. A speck we thought, and yet, without our presence, the picture would be absent fullness of meaning and beauty.

See you at the table.

How would I describe some of the pieces of who I am at this moment?

Do I have a sense God is moving my pieces around?

How do I feel about being part of His design, His plan?

Do I need to spend some time pondering who He is creating me to be?

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