Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Life Lessons from a 1,000 Piece Puzzle

I’m not sure if they are still around, but do you remember the “Love Is…” cartoons?

They had simple little drawings and a completion to the “Love Is…” sentence starter that almost always made you say “Aww! How sweet!”

You know:

Love is…sharing your last cookie.

Love is…going skating when you’d rather be at the movies.

Love is…holding hands under a starry night sky.

Lately (okay I say “lately” but what I mean is in the last decade or two) I notice that just about everything I do could be a completion of a “Life is…” sentence starter.

Years ago I took a walk around the neighborhood and had to duck under some branches that were in the way of the sidewalk and found that I was also moving in and out of sunshine and stepping over large mounds in the sidewalk cement that had been uprooted by big trees. I kept thinking to myself “Wow! Life is like this walk! Sometimes you have to duck and sometimes you have to watch your step. Sometimes everything in front of you is bright and clear and open and sometimes it is dark and a bit shadowy.”

The revelations of that walk have always stuck with me.

This Christmas I received a puzzle. A beautiful Italian water scene. I haven’t done a puzzle in a really long time but was excited by the prospect. My husband joined me, too. Sometimes we worked together and other times on our own. Very quickly I realized that the puzzle was yet another one of those “Life is…” revelations as it sat there on the table beckoning me. My response varied from day to day. There were times I relished the challenge and dug in while at other times I turned my back on it, not up to the commitment and even a bit frustrated.

“Life is like a 1,000 piece puzzle!” I found myself constantly saying. In fact, the quiet I anticipated while doing the puzzle was sometimes overrun with the revelation in my spirit: Life really, truly is like a 1,000 piece puzzle!

1.      All the pieces fit—even if you don’t see that truth right away.
2.      Try as you might, pieces that seem to go together can’t be forced if they really don’t go together; on the other hand you can’t be afraid to at least try to see if the pieces fit!
3.      It’s nice to have someone to do it with but sometimes you just need to go at it alone.
4.      Sometimes you need to take a step back—take a break—to get a better picture of what is happening.
5.      There will be times when all things come together without any effort—and there will be times when no matter what you do, nothing works out; but it is ALL GOOD!

And now that my puzzle is finished, I am struck by the incredible understanding that it really is all about the journey!

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