Puzzle Pieces


So I’m playing a puzzle on my computer and the pieces are scattered across my screen. Just like they would be on my tabletop…

That is if I had a tabletop surface that stayed clear long enough for me to put a puzzle together without losing pieces! {Chuckle} As I sorted and resorted the pieces I was thinking how life is like putting a puzzle together.

Some memories seem to be snapshots. Sometimes the picture is a clear memory emblazoned on the heart. Like a photograph. We see it clearly in single shots. The vista from a mountaintop or the crash of a wave on the beach. The princes playing in the surf or cooking over a campfire. The memories are like photos or movies we cherish.

The stuff we really work on builds step by step. Or if you will allow my metaphor, piece by piece. We don’t see the big picture until the pieces fall into place. Each piece builds the tree, flowers, and meadow. Once the pieces are in place we see the whole picture of a tree in a meadow with blooming wildflowers. Did you see the bird in the pieces or only once the puzzle was completed? Let me give you an example:

I’ll use my diploma for my Bachelors of Science Degree in Biological Sciences. I couldn’t see it when I started college. I was a high school dropout who went to Adult Ed and got my high school diploma when I was seventeen. I hated high school and wanted to be out in the world.

It was six years before I decided I needed a degree, a trade, or a business to move beyond minimum wage. I’m klutz and not mechanically inclined so a trade was iffy at best. From my dad’s business I knew the ropes of owning a small business. But I wasn’t blessed with entrepreneurial spirit at the time. I loved science and I saw a future there.

I was unsure of going back to school. The fear of failure threatened to hold me back. With my mom’s encouragement I took the first step into the office at the Junior College. Yes, they were still Junior colleges back in the 80s. That step was one of the corner pieces. Another corner piece was actually signing up for classes.

The outside edges fell into place with securing funding, a studio apartment, books, and a schedule. Slowly the pieces fell into place. Each class, teacher, study partner, and lab was a piece to my diploma puzzle. Some of the pieces were easy like Bio-Psychology. Others were downright difficult like Organic Chemistry or Art Appreciation. I mean, really! I can’t just bask in the glow of the artists’ work. What was with building molecules with that tiny tinker toy set? Anyway…

The point is my diploma is in my memory as a paper in a frame. A proud achievement. The high school dropout makes good. But that picture is made up of hundreds of little pieces that made it possible. When I started, I didn’t know what my diploma would look like. I wasn’t even sure I would finish school with a diploma. I just had a box of pieces needing to be put together.

Right now I’m placing pieces in a new picture. I think I’ll call it “The Life Beyond.” What do you think? The life beyond mom, career, etc.

I have a vague idea what the picture will look like once I put it together. What do you think it will look like? Will there be a mountain cabin? How about a published and successful writer? Is there a grandma role in my future? A healthy body and mind?

Again I have a box of pieces to fit together. I have a choice. I can put the puzzle on the shelf and ignore it. Or I can keep trying to fit all the pieces together to see what God has planned beyond my transition.

I’ll be the tortoise pushing those pieces around! {Big Smile!} Blessings,


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