It finally happened. Sid pulled out a jigsaw puzzle from the stacks of them that came with this house. We bought this place last spring primarily as a rental property to supplement our income but have been grateful to be able to stay here this year longer than anticipated as COVID-19 has changed travel plans for all of us. A truly unanticipated blessing, as so many are.
Unfortunately for Sid’s endeavors, an occasional piece has fallen to the floor as yummy appetizers for our dear pup Sofie, also looking for activities outside the box (😊). Shelter in place has been so unfun for her with no long romps on the beach. I suggested to Sid as he finishes what is left of the puzzle, to leave a baggie with the chewed up gnarled pieces taped to the box and a note of how they came to their demise to bring a smile to the face of the next person seeking asylum in our puzzles.
As I watch the picture taking shape by Sid’s patient efforts, it reminds me of how we are like the puzzle – broken, fractured, unsolvable (thank you, Sofie!), scarred like the lines of the picture. The picture is incomplete, physically finite, yet still beautiful. We are as the puzzle, still beautiful by what others see in us, by what we see in ourselves, and by what HaShem has created and knows is in each of us, beautiful despite of and because of the imperfections.
Last week we pondered how living together in close proximity during these challenging times creates more opportunities to know the others with whom we are living. We thought about learning to see more easily from their perspectives as a way to hone our loving others skills. Yet with proximity comes the reality of more conflict, not just neighbors across the street getting testy, but actual physical limitation within our homes making it hard to find much needed personal space, sometimes leading to unpleasant interchanges. Our loved ones are always there! We are experiencing the usual stuff of life but made more challenging given the close quarters, made even more difficult perhaps if more people or little ones are confined with us. Yes, we have so much to be grateful for, yet we are only human.
I am thanking God for this time Sid had to bring out the puzzle to remind me of the process that helps us in times such as this. Just as piece by piece the puzzle will become a beautiful picture, so too, we are being given this time to build, and rebuild, ourselves, in that faltering style, trial and error, making our inevitable mistakes but blessedly having plenty of time to try again, not to mention learning forgiveness for those mistakes (Sofie!!) We may sometimes try an approach in our interactions, just as in puzzle pieces, interlocking with those around us in a way that just doesn’t work, only to try again and on the next try fit together beautifully, perfectly, as intended.
Yet, as the pieces unrecognizably chewed by sweet Sofie, we are just human, sometimes like the pretty picture, but often pretty gnarly. We’re not seeking, nor will we obtain perfection. We can grow, however, if we seek the beauty, if we work toward the intended result, powered by patience and perseverance, as well as forgiveness for the mistakes (the naughty chews). We can grow in our abilities to overcome disappointments and setbacks, frustration and anger. We can, if we will try, with patience, perseverance, and forgiveness in our hearts.
We have surely learned through these coronavirus times that life is indeed a puzzle, inscrutable, yet one in which we are intimately co-creating by our decisions, the journey assuredly to be perfected by our Abba, through Yeshua.
Find peace and love in your home this week. I wish you shalom bayit and