Sunday, January 22, 2012

Puzzle Piece to Puzzle Peace

In the summer months, and sometimes over holidays or weekends, I like to keep a puzzle going under the tablecloth on the kitchen table. I’ll wander in during an idle moment and try to fit a few pieces in here and there. When friends drop by, the puzzle is there for them to whittle away at as we chat. I don’t know why I enjoy it, but I do. I’ve got one on the go right now.

But ever try to complete a puzzle only to find the last piece is missing? It’s a frustrating experience, like missing out on the last page of a book or the last five minutes of a movie.

And yet, if you pick up a random puzzle piece, you’ll notice how innocuous it is, just a jumble of colour, without much shape or obvious purpose. It’s difficult to tell where it belongs when superficially so many other puzzle pieces look similar.

This, of course, is us. It can be difficult sometimes, with people we encounter, to always sense their worth. Admit it, honestly. Some people seem incompetent and ineffectual. Some are just mean. Some use us and abuse us. Some want more than their fair share of the puzzle table, squeezing out the smaller pieces. Some are just plain aggravating.

But the lesson of the puzzle is that everyone belongs. A missing piece is a travesty and a disaster. Without every single one of us, the whole picture can never appear.

This is something that Christ recognized. All life is necessary. All creation is good. Each person is unique, a gift from God, an essential part of the whole. This is why we cannot kill. This is why we cannot injure. When we strive to create a world of justice and peace, a picture that would conform to the Kingdom of God, we are forced to remember that this can never be a solitary pursuit.

As I prepare for tomorrow, I remind myself to try to recognize the unique and essential in the people I meet. Every person is necessary. Every person belongs. Every person can help us to see better a tiny corner of God’s all-embracing love.

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