Puzzle of Life

On our community room table, we have a “puzzle in process” all the time! 1,000 pieces; 250 pieces; 1,500 pieces…Some among us are blessed with puzzle skills like seeing relationships and determining where one piece of the puzzle fits into another or where a tiny dot of color is waiting to be matched with a larger swath of flowers or sky or figurine. I am not one of those skilled puzzle makers!

But I love stories…and I love the story that my friend, Pat, told me about her mother’s love of puzzles, cards, and games. Even during her six years of dementia, these puzzles became a point of contact between herself and her grandchildren!

Mary died last month. At her funeral Mass, her grandchildren brought mementos of their grandma’s life to the altar. The littlest ones each brought a piece of a puzzle! My eyes filled with tears as I thought of the significance of their tiny hands wanting to “piece it all together” again!

A metaphor here! Life is like a huge puzzle. Just as at the table with 2,500 pieces, we might wonder if a piece had been lost or perhaps several pieces, as we finish looking for the pieces still not placed. Don’t we wonder, as well, about pieces of our lives? Where did they get lost? Will a small dot of color—if remembered—fit into a larger swath of garden, sky or person? What about the darker or more intimate pieces of our lives? Can they be enhanced? Enlarged? Or even become “accents” to the total? What can we do to change our fears and doubts, our pain or worries into a larger panoramic view of our lives? Can our songs of gratitude incorporate and mesh them into the beautiful puzzle of our life in Christ and in the human community here on Mother Earth?

Renée Domeier, OSB

Photo: Sisters Marilyn Mark (left) and Janine Mettling complete a puzzle