Monday, November 29, 2010

Sometimes Life's a Puzzle

I’ve been quiet for too long on my blog. Sorry.

Other than an ad for a writer's seminar, I’ve not posted since August 2nd. I’ve meant to, but tragedy struck my family in mid-August, and it seems I lost my words.

On August 14th my 23-year-old nephew Michael was killed in a freak incident. The grief my family is experiencing is deeper than words. And because most of the language I could use to explain the situation seemed trite, I kept quiet.

Four months have passed. It seems impossible that the sun rises and other families go about their business and experience happiness while my family grieves. But life goes on, with or without our whole-hearted participation.

My niece Jen put it best when she said we lived in a happy bubble. We were aware of problems others’ had and of the tragedies that punctuate the news, but thankfully we were blissfully removed from the sorrowful side of life. But with Mike’s death our happy bubble has burst, and now there’s no way to go back to living in that happy, carefree place.

During the cooler months my dining room table usually holds a jigsaw puzzle, and each of us take our turn at putting it together. We started our first puzzle of the year, and the other night I sat down to check it out.

Someone had connected the puzzle’s perimeter, but there remained 1,300+ pieces to be sorted and put into their proper place. I stared at the void in the middle of the puzzle outline and stirred the hundreds of little pieces with my fingers.

Completing the puzzle seemed like an impossibility—sorting through the hundreds of colored pieces to detect which are the flowers, which are the cobblestone street, which are the choppy seas, and which are the purple-hued sky. But I knew if I kept at it, the puzzle would form.

The question of why Michael’s life was so short is a puzzle. But I have faith that someday the pieces will come together. I have faith that someday when we recall Mike it will be with a happy heart instead of a broken heart. I have faith that Mike’s death didn’t come as a surprise to God, and that He welcomed Michael with open arms. I have faith that with each brilliant sunrise and with each magnificent sight that is set before us, God is urging us to grasp with joy that tiny piece of the puzzle that is life and continue to trust Him.

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (The Message)