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Puzzle. Part 1

During our last school holidays I did something blissful that I haven’t had time or space for in years. I got a new jigsaw puzzle. A 1000-piece beauty featuring big cats. It won’t surprise you to know I take an organic approach but even I  have to start with the frame, otherwise it’s too all over the place. That’s about as methodical as I get. It’s all pretty random from then on. Sometimes I’ll end up working on a single section but I generally just keep riffling through the box until I find something that fits somewhere. I love jigsaws because they force me to physically stop and zone out. Our children are now all old enough not to trouble a large jigsaw puzzle. Well, nearly. I discovered that as well as feeding my inner nerd, it also got us talking to each other without screens in the way. You can’t do a puzzle and also have screentime. Nor can it be done in a hurry. It makes you slow down because you won’t find the piece you want straight away – except when you’re down to the final handful. There are no shortcuts with a jigsaw.

Everyone in the house got into it and contributed. It changed the atmosphere at home. The kids were all hanging out in that way of holidays at home, but the quality of the slouching was different. Meals were almost missed, washing piled up and tumbleweed collected around the house over the holidays while I worked on this puzzle, sometimes alone, sometimes with one or two of the kids. It was great. Very therapeutic. And I gained some insight about myself and how life is, viewed through the metaphor of a puzzle.

The first thing that struck me was this. All the pieces are in the box.

It’s all there. Even if it doesn’t seem like anything fits, or you can get maybe two or three clusters of two or three pieces, ultimately it will all come together. At the beginning it seems such a monumental task that you wonder if it will ever work. So much to do. So far to go. And how do you know it will all come out okay in the end? Well, because you know bought a complete puzzle. But the fear is always there, right? Suppose there’s something missing and I can’t finish?

And how does this relate to life? Well, as a Christian, believing the word of God, I accept the words of Peter, that fiery disciple who always had something to say, that

God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 1 Peter 2 v 3

So whatever we think about ourselves, God has given us everything we need. In himself. We may not feel like we have it all together, and that’s surely no bad thing. There’s no space for ego. We have God, and having God in our lives we have everything we need. It’s all inside the box, if you like, just waiting for us to assemble it. Complete with God, we are enough, we have all that we need.

The pieces may be scattered, especially after a trauma or a tragedy, or just when life is complicated, but God knows what the picture is meant to look like, and ultimately all the pieces will fit together.

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