Ever since I finished my first 150 piece puzzle – I was hooked.
I still love the idea of thousands of pieces coming together to form a bigger picture. I like the process of figuring it out. The bigger the better and the more complicated the greater the reward.
Whenever I took on a new puzzle challenge, most of my family members also helped to build. (Usually after I finished sorting all the pieces and finished the frame.) Only my brother never really seemed interested, but every single time when it came to wrapping up the picture, the last puzzle piece was MISSING.
I’m not quite sure if he did it only to annoy me, but I suspect he really got a kick out of adding the last piece. The one he hid on purpose.
The past year felt a lot like trying to build a puzzle with a million little pieces. Without having any idea what the picture is supposed to look like. The three months my brother disappeared, as well as the months leading up to his death. There were so many factors to take into consideration, questions, guesses and small discoveries.
It didn’t help that we tried to fill all the empty spaces with ‘what if’s’ and ‘maybes’.
When they finally found his car and the forensic pathologist put two and two together, more of the puzzle pieces fell in place. It wasn’t the outcome we were hoping for, but in a way it was also a relief. Knowing is better than being soul-sucked with false hope. We had positive DNA tests and a date for a funeral. If nothing else we could at least get some closure.
Sitting in Thailand with a newborn left me without the option to go to his funeral. Or to my grandmother’s funeral who also passed away less than two months later.
I’ve learned that grief can take on many different shapes and sizes. The process of making peace with the missing puzzle pieces looks different for each of us.
I came home to deal with the reality that they are gone.
I gave myself time. Not because I believe time heals, but simply because time helps us to see the bigger picture.
Two months, many tears and countless cups of coffee later, I find peace in this image: The picture is far from finished.
Perhaps it was God’s way of preparing me all along… I’ve learned to keep on building, to find joy in the process instead of the completed work. Because I always knew that at least one of the pieces would be missing. Not lost or stolen, but hidden.
As much as I would love to know, to have it all figured out and be able to see the full picture. I am reminded that we only see in part:
“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.”
I’m making peace with not having all the pieces. I’m learning to trust that God knows what He is doing. The completed work will be a masterpiece, even if it doesn’t look like it from where we’re standing at any given moment.
I get to be grateful for what has already been revealed. To find joy in the process of seeing a picture come to life bit by bit.
This is what faith is, to trust in what we cannot yet see.
Knowing that one day we will see everything with perfect clarity and it will be worth it! Worth:
- Searching and sorting, trying again and again until we find a piece that fits… and then another.
- Fighting for perspective when we cannot make sense of our current circumstances.
- Encouraging others not to give up; as we keep on building and building each other up.
- Remembering that we are only part of a picture that is so much bigger than we will ever be.
I do not know your puzzle story. Your approach to making sense of all the pieces… All the empty spaces left by loss.
Perhaps you also feel like something is missing, or hidden and you find it hard to keep on building when you can’t see the bigger picture.
Peace only God can give when we trust Him with all the pieces.
I pray that He will give you an image or a vision. A God given passion or desire that will help you make sense of your life when you can’t see the bigger picture. May He fill you with the courage to keep on building, to make the most of the pieces you have been given. And may He give you peace that surpasses all understanding.