A jigsaw puzzle is a metaphor for life.
Think about it.
A thousand pieces or more that make up a design someone else conceived. Each piece a day that I can only add one at a time.
The edges first--a framework for everything else. God, the law, my conscience, the place and time ordained for me above all others. I have to start there.
Then I look for big patterns--the side of a barn, a bunch of flowers, a face, a doorway--and I gather the pieces up, again one at a time, to see whether they fit. Some do. They are a job, marriage, children--the things around which all else must fit. And the easily recognizable parts begin to take shape.
These usually go together fairly quickly. Yes, I look at them one by one, but not always too closely. They come almost automatically. But then I have to join them. I have to piece together a sidewalk, a brick wall, a lake, a bookcase. This is when it gets harder and slows down. The pieces all look so much alike. Raising kids. Going to work day after day. Learning my spouse does not exist to make me happy. These are the days we learn to live with mistakes. I get frustrated when this phase starts, not liking the forced slowdown. I have to individually examine every one of these pieces for size and shape and color, in order to figure out where it fits. I find a place in the puzzle for some. Some I put aside for later. Some I try to force--surely it goes in this spot. But it doesn't. This is when I am most likely to lose or bend a piece.
But all the while, the picture builds. I see more of it every day, become familiar with each region of it. The brown pieces go in the upper right. The green ones go near the door. The ones that look like mottled eggshells are a sandy beach and go next to the water.
I dream about every detail, excited to see where the next piece will go.
And always, always, I see the end approaching. The pile of loose pieces shrinks, but I feel no panic. The empty places in between begin to disappear and I stand back occasionally to see what all those small pieces have wrought.
It is then I see what I am making. One by one, day after day, piece by piece, the overall design, made long ago by my Father in heaven, finally comes together and I can see it, and remember. This is when I did this or this is what happened on that day. This is not a painting, beautiful only for the finished product. It is gradual assimilation of detail, forever made of small things bound together into the finished whole it was always meant to be.
The puzzle only goes together one way and, eventually, I hold only one piece in my hand. The box is empty, all other places filled in. I am finished.
My last day.
And I lay my final piece into place and stand back to look. So that is what I am. That is what You planned for me all along.
Thank you. It is beautiful.
Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom--Psalm 90:12