I’ve tried enjoying putting jigsaw puzzles together and I admire those who find pleasure in this hobby. I know it takes time, patience and lots of space. I’ve noticed people in our public library who dump the tiny segments of a puzzle out of a box and onto a large table. Then they turn all of those little parts right side up. Finally, they place the finished puzzle picture somewhere nearby in order to refer to it. Looking at this completed picture of the puzzle is what keeps them on track, and helps them to eventually sense the satisfaction of their completed work of art.
Imagine for a moment, a child who has begun to put together a jigsaw puzzle. She dumped the pieces out, turned them all right side up, and placed the box with the completed puzzle picture nearby. She connected all four of the corner pieces and began joining together parts that made up the center of the puzzle. She’s happy with the work and the picture is beginning to look a little like the completed picture on the box.
Now imagine that one of her brothers comes along and with one fell swoop of his arm, he scatters the pieces of her puzzle far and wide. Then he grabs the box, smashes it with his foot and throws it in the garbage can. The little girl is devastated and for a while, has no idea of what to do.
Then, she decides to try and put the puzzle back together again. She crawls along the floor feeling for the pieces and picks them up. Then she looks in the trash for the puzzle box. She pulls out the box of what she thinks is the picture of her puzzle.
She begins to put the puzzle back together, but she does not know that she is missing some of the pieces and that the picture on the box does not match the puzzle she is trying to put back together.
If you can imagine this scenario, then you get the idea of what it was like for me, when at the age of thirteen, my father ended his life.
I was devastated and confused. I felt around for the missing pieces of my life and looked at the image I’d once possessed of myself.
I’d once been cherished. Was I still loved? I’d once felt unique. Was I still special? I’d once known the peace that came from the protection of a father. Who could I rely on now to keep me safe and content? Was I now abandoned? Was it now expected of me to go through life on my own?
When someone ends their life there are those of us who are left to somehow keep on living. We attempt to find the pieces that have been flung far and wide and we desire to put ourselves back together again. But the pieces and the picture don’t match.
Our loved one is gone. The relationship that once existed with them no longer exists. Our son, daughter, brother, sister, wife, husband, mother or father has perished. That space in our lives they once filled is now blank and empty.
In my search to find the far flung pieces of my life, I came across Someone who gave me a new picture of me. The image was of a whole person. She was not perfect, but all the parts of her life, the good, the bad and the ugly, were all connected. She is now working at putting the pieces together that fit the new image she’d been given, by the One who created her in the first place.
Why bother putting the puzzle back together again? We’ve all got a few parts missing from our lives, we may even be looking at the wrong picture. But, when we accept the image that God has in mind for us, he gives us all the right pieces and helps us fit them into place.