Life Is a Puzzle
Sometimes life feels like a giant puzzle. Remember puzzles? A jillion cardboard pieces come in a box with a pretty picture on the cover. They seem to have no rhyme or reason. You squint at all the pieces as you rearrange them, trying to find the perfect combination of matching pieces and picture. After awhile, you lean back, rub the sore muscles in your neck, stretch your arms over your head, and admire the masterpiece you have built. It is beautiful.
It’s just like life. We come to earth with a set of gifts and abilities. Using those talents, and others we develop along the way, we build and construct a life that we think is beautiful. Maybe not perfect, but beautiful. When anything threatens that masterpiece, we fiercely protect it out of fear that it will be destroyed. In my house, it was necessary to cover the unfinished puzzle with a blanket to protect it from curious cats who wanted to explore and knock it on the floor.
That box the pieces came in – is the picture on the cover really the pattern we’re supposed to be following? Or is it something of our own invention? In my experience, we don’t actually have as clear a picture of what the final product is supposed to look like as we think we do.
Then when something does come along that knocks it off the table, or the frame we have constructed around it, we are devastated. We look at the pieces scattered on the floor, and despair at the work that went into building it. There seems to be no easy way that it can be rebuilt.
The thing – whatever it is – divorce, abuse, illness, death – that swept all your puzzle pieces on the ground almost seems to mock you. Looking at those pieces scattered around feel like a rejection of every tiny particle that make up your soul. Sometimes those soul-pieces were held together by only anger and fear, but at least they were held together by something. Now, they are only pieces of a whole you don’t know can ever be put together again. Maybe you don’t even know if you want to try.
But there is someone who can. We can take those forlorn fragments to Jesus and say, “Here. I have nothing left.” And He begins to construct, using the same pieces of our old puzzle, something more magnificent and greater than we could ever imagine. It’s like Jesus has a master puzzle box with a picture on it we can’t begin to comprehend.
Often times, we don’t even catch a glimpse of the picture on the box He’s following until much later.
The Complete Picture
Seeing the Savior as you watch the pieces of your life being shattered and scattered before you – there is no greater lesson you can learn, no greater fire you can go through than that one. Each person who desires to be like Him, who has even the foggiest sleep-memory of being with Him in the premortal world, needs to go through some phase where what was once carefully constructed is torn down and left in pieces on the ground.
We must all go through this, in varying degrees and in widely different circumstances. Be certain that this is part of our eternity, this learning to trust Him with our puzzle, and that it will be more beautiful than we could have done on our own.
It was only when my puzzle was completely destroyed that my life was able to become whole again.
Each of us is a piece of the puzzle, and each of us helps to set in place other essential pieces. We can see the miracle continuing and the Lord’s hand guiding us as we complete the gaps that remain. (Neil L. Anderson, “A Witness of God,” October 2016 General Conference.)