I did a jigsaw puzzle for the first time in so long that I’ve almost forgotten how. I was at a silent retreat. A lady had started a puzzle that had 500 pieces. It seemed like most of them were green or pink. The image was of a butterfly. This looked too complicated for me. I think it was too complicated for her too because she left it on the table and moved to something else. She found all the edge pieces and put them together. Perhaps she was leaving it for another person to work on.
I went to see if there was anything else to work on. There are all sorts of art supplies and things to there. There are essays and books and poems to read too. It is all optional, but I like to take advantage of what is offered. I want to get my money’s worth. I also want to open myself up to new experiences.
I came across a jigsaw puzzle in a re-closable bag. And it is of space. And it is a cartoon. And it only has 100 pieces. I’m there. Nobody had opened it yet, so I ripped off the top. I started finding the edge pieces but then I didn’t know how big the finished puzzle was going to be. Would I have enough room? I was sharing the table with a painter. I didn’t want to get in her way. Then I started to see pieces that obviously went together.
My inner squirrel started to take over. What do I do next? Do the outer stuff or the inner stuff? This is so like my spiritual journey it isn’t funny. Well, actually it is funny. It’s always funny how God works things out and I’m almost always the last to know. I never have the map. Nobody does. We wander around, like the Jews in the desert, moving from camp to camp, from call to call. We go where we are sent. We don’t know where we are going until we get there.
So instead of focusing on the outside, the limits, I chose to focus on the inside, the images. Make a planet. Then make another planet. With this puzzle, as with life, I found myself heavily relying on words. The names of the planets held me together. I used them as a guide. At other times I felt I was cheating by looking at the picture on the bag. This is me – the same person who complains that God doesn’t give me a map. Here’s a map and I’m balking at using it. There’s a lot to be understood there.
God doesn’t give me a map because God knows I’d rather figure it out on my own. I’d rather be happily surprised when I see the pattern coming together. I’d rather do it my way. I also realized that it doesn’t matter if I work on the inside or the outside, as long as I’m working. It will all come together in the end. God’s got the pattern. It is just to me to work on it, and with it, and trust.