Monday Moment, May 20th
Philippians 1:6 (NRSV)
I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.
A few months ago, I was feeling blissful about our new life in West Virginia. After having so many aspects of our lives undone by health issues a few years ago, we were finally feeling as if we had found our new purposes and places here. I likened this feeling to the satisfaction of a completed puzzle. All the pieces of our lives had been reassembled in a beautiful new way.
But we all know from experience that our “completed puzzles” only last for a brief time. Those moments of feeling all-together are often fleeting, aren’t they? Recently I made the difficult decision to leave the wonderful pastor and staff, good people, inspiring worship experiences, and meaningful ministry I have grown to love over the past two years. (The denomination made a decision in which I could not abide.) A large section of my “puzzle” has been undone.
The image of life as a puzzle that is continually being assembled, disassembled, and reassembled on its way to perfect completion brings me comfort in these unsettled days.
Our family enjoys working on jigsaw puzzles when we are together. The puzzle gives us a fun project to do while we share stories and memories, listen to someone’s favorite music, or at times ponder our own thoughts in the silence. Once a puzzle is finished, we stand back to admire it for a little while, then break it apart and place the pieces back in the box until another time. I realize that more joy is found in the process of completion than in admiring the finished work.
So it is with living this life. Throughout our lives we will seek those integral pieces that serve to complete our purpose here. Along the way, we will try numerous pieces that do not fit in order to find the one piece that fits perfectly. These attempts are not failures, but an essential part of our process toward completion. We will also appreciate the camaraderie as we help one another search for a particular missing piece. We will be delighted to find a piece that we know will fit perfectly even before we attempt to place it. We will be surprised when we discover that a piece we once thought would never fit actually is the right one to fill an empty space.
There will be painful times when a portion of the puzzle is torn apart, after we have come to believe we had that section in place for good. We will need to patiently and persistently reassemble it, keeping a hopeful vision of our future full picture before us. And when we get close to finishing, we may even find that one elusive piece we imagined was lost forever.
On our way to perfect completion, may we learn to find joy in the seeking and the finding, the losses and the surprises, the community and the teamwork, and even in the breaking and the reassembling. These trials, challenges, joys and discoveries are all part of the process of creating our one final, beautiful picture. One that in the end will be perfectly complete.
Photo Credit: Hans-Peter Gauster @sloppyperfectionist, downloaded from Unsplash.