Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Coming Together, Piece by Piece
By Micky Wolf
“Wow, a large section—when I find the connecting pieces, it’s going to be fun to see more of the bigger picture fall into place!” My beloved smile as I directed his attention to the long segment of ocean amidst the assorted pieces on the table in front of us.
Those of you who follow this blog know one of the ways I relax and let my mind wander (and wonder) is assembling jigsaw puzzles. While the basic process is similar—border first, group similar looking colors or patterns—no two puzzles ever come together in the same way. And this one is no exception. For whatever reason, it isn’t often that a large collection of pieces come together before being connected to the body of the puzzle.
And then, the pieces of thoughts wandering and wondering about begin to create another sort of picture—God in all things.
God knows each of us before He created us in our mother’s womb. The framework was set in place by the One who knows and understands who He has created us to be long before it ever occurred to us.
As we cooperate with His grace, He pieces us together—individually and corporately—to create something beautiful from the original outline. The more we allow Him to work and to
will His plan, the more we become a true manifestation of His Love.
Shapes and colors…
Every piece of puzzle has outward nubs and inward slots. That makes it possible for a connection to be made. Without these odd bumps and indentations there could be no meaningful association. It is important, however, to gently place the pieces together, otherwise we risk damaging them.
Same holds true for us. God didn’t place us here on this earth to simply occupy space and suck up more than our fair share of oxygen. Our nubs and slots—our heart, mind, body, spirit, and emotions—are to be extended in love, and open to receiving the same from others. Kindness and compassion will hold us in good stead as God works, and we work.
One at a time or several…
There are some occasions when I sit down with the puzzle and can only find one piece that fits before I need to move on to other tasks of the day. It used to be that twenty minutes with that kind of result felt unsuccessful. A waste of time? No.
Some of the most insightful and graced moments of my life have unfolded in what seemed to be the smallest experiences at the time they occurred. For example: happening on a few pages my father had written years ago was of those blessed occasions. The familiar longhand style evoked memories, some pleasant, others less so. At the same time, it was as if he wanted me to know something about him that he never had the opportunity to share while he was alive.
When God is in the process of building community—or for that matter expanding an existing one—we can be pretty sure His timeline is very different than ours. He is in no hurry, neither is He oblivious to accomplishing His purposes.
With great care and attention, He allows us to encounter one another, to share events and circumstances that He will use in His time and place—if we choose His will rather than our own.
Challenges and difficulties…
As sinful human beings, we can make a mess at times, especially if we’re trying to manage or control all the pieces, whether in our own life or the lives of others. Trying to put ourselves in place doesn’t work, nor is it loving or helpful to shove people around because they look like they will fit into our picture or puzzle.
God’s process of creating the larger picture is to give each of us plentiful opportunity for allowing Him to gently lead and guide us into following His Divine Will. All of which may mean that from our perspective, things look terribly out of order. Nonetheless, we know God’s ways are not our ways, His thoughts are above ours.
For each and all of us, the work of the Creator (or of being created ongoingly as Ignatius of Loyola would say) is to fully live and experience the present moment.
As this journey unfolds, and in light of calling ourselves Christ-followers, may we choose to be the unique piece—and the peace-fullness—that unites rather than divides. May we truly be and become, living witnesses of the handiwork of our great and good God.
How do I feel in the awareness God knew me before He actually created me?
How would I describe the state of my heart, mind, body, spirit, and emotions?
Am I connected to the source and summit of the bigger picture?