Every Christmas my family sets up a jigsaw puzzle for all of us to enjoy piecing together throughout the holiday season. It really wasn’t until this year that I realized how much meaning the puzzle had for our family and about life itself. I was amazed by how this holiday tradition got the attention of all the family members, from 13 to 90. We often found ourselves shoulder-to-shoulder searching patiently many minutes for one or two pieces. Better yet, when someone eventually found a crucial piece, they’d get on a roll and fit five or ten more in quick succession. Sometimes you’d walk away for a breather; other times you’d sit there contentedly for hours just staring, searching, choosing, and hopefully making a contribution to the overall effort. Occasionally you’d get a little frustrated and try to force the wrong piece into the right space but found out repeatedly that you can’t get into a contest of wills with a jigsaw puzzle. In the end, all the pieces fit together to make a lovely picture that was the sum of the efforts of many family members.
After reflecting on this Christmas tradition for a while, I realized that this is how the journey works. It is comprised of many pieces that gradually form the whole of your life. Those pieces come into your life with their own perfect timing, and it’s futile to try to force something that just doesn’t fit. In your heart you know what works and what doesn’t. And in the end, all of these pieces will form a picture of your unique journey through life. They’ll fit together seamlessly, and the resultant picture will be perfect, clear, and quite beautiful.
“Who in the world am I? Ah, that is the great puzzle!”—Lewis Carol (1832-1898)