I had intended to write a few more blogs about the “unexpecteds” that we encountered on vacation (like the fresh bear tracks, fur, and feces that kept us from continuing our hike; or like the herd of deer meandering down the street as we were hiking through town) and post the pictures that went with them. However, so much has happened since we got home and there is so much to reflect on that I might just have to hold those thoughts to myself for now.
What I want to talk about right now are jigsaw puzzles. My parents and I have always loved doing them and I remember often coming home to a new puzzle laid out on the card table. (I also remember a bird we had that totally frustrated my dad because it liked to steal and destroy the pieces.) I have a certain way that I like to do a puzzle – the easy way. First I do the entire border and then I start filling in the middle pieces by color and pattern.
Today I was picturing life as a jigsaw puzzle. We are given all these pieces of differing shapes and colors. The border pieces are put together first and I imagine that those are the pieces of our growing up years that form the shape and outline of our picture. We then spend the rest of our life filling in the middle patterns and colors to complete the picture of who we are to become.
But imagine that you are given a box of jigsaw pieces that are completely blank – no colors or pictures, just plain white- and to make matters worse many of the border pieces are missing. It would be frustrating if not impossible to put the border together, and therefore a staggering impossibility to make sense of the middle pieces.
That blank jigsaw puzzle is a wonderful depiction of my life. With so much of the border missing and no color or substance to help define a picture, for almost 50 years I’ve been unable to grasp who I am or to make sense of how the pieces fit together. But recently God has been doing an amazing work that almost defies description. All I can say is that He is beginning to hand me the rest of the border pieces and to add color and pattern to what is there. There is suddenly a border to my life – pieces and colors and patterns that I’ve desperately needed to add shape to who I am and who I am becoming are being found. And that border is now helping me to put so many of the other pieces into the place they belong and to make sense of the overall picture. It is like an epiphany the way the pieces are suddenly finding their place and the picture is beginning to take shape. All I can say is “God is Awesome!”
I will turn 50 in a few months. I know that for some people, that is a difficult birthday, and for some even a mid-life crisis time. Not for me. Right now I feel like I’m undergoing some kind of new birth, a resurrection, a coming together into who I am and who I am created to be. There’s no way I can feel that I’m in “mid-life” when I am just beginning to feel more alive than I ever remember being.
As I said, “God is awesome!”