When a Jigsaw Puzzle shows Life…!
The school had a jigsaw puzzle sitting on a table in the cafeteria. On rainy days the students, ages nine through fourteen, came there during recess to complete the puzzle. Each student brought his own brand of energy and in between chatting with one another and the occasional “roughhousing,” they worked on the puzzle. Little by little, day after day they struggled to fit the odd shaped pieces into the design found on the box cover. Sometimes the pieces fit easily, and at other times those crazy shaped pieces just didn’t. Often frustration gave way to exasperated exits back to their classrooms.
But gradually, overtime the puzzle began to take shape and the picture on the box cover slowly appeared. And when it did the students’ voices and enthusiasm rose proportionately until the big picture of a completed puzzle took its final shape. To celebrate they saluted each other with back slaps and high fives, saying--“We did it!” Yes, they had put all those oddly shaped pieces together.
What the students “did” and without realizing--was “what" made these different pieces fit together to create the picture. The lesson learned was how their time and patience achieved the “big picture," but the puzzle taught them a greater lesson about life itself.
You see, just like all these various shaped pieces of the puzzle, we all have a place in life. We can be big, tiny, jagged, red, blue or green, but we are all part of the “Big Picture” of life. As the students discovered, some "pieces" fit in place quickly, while others take time, but the point is-we all have our place. All we have to do--is “hang in there,” keeping an eye on the “big picture” and searching for our space with patience because, like the puzzle, it's there--right on the box cover!
Pope Francis doesn’t seem to have trouble fitting people into the big picture of God’s kingdom. Why? Pope Francis “sees people first.” He doesn’t lump people together in groups or categories. Rather, he sees their differences--like hurts, wounds, disease, and disfigurements and then hugs them. His hug lets them know everyone is a child of God.
What Pope Francis is hugging is God’s image and likeness embedded in us all. This “divine connection" unites us and Pope Francis wants us to appreciate this. He knows we have our differences, but he depends on Jesus, the Healer, to give the mercy needed to make the fit into life’s “big picture.”
When we see people first, we are fitting one person at a time into that big picture. And Christ depends on our patience and faith to make it happen every day and with every person we meet-those we like and those we have trouble liking. Jesus wants no one lost. Jesus wants everyone in his/her place in His "Big Picture.”
Like those students, we have our own puzzle to finish. We have our own various pieces to fit. What we need is the understanding, the patience and the trust to get the task finished. Don’t forget Jesus is there to help? But when we do all we can, Jesus may do His own brand of "back slaps and high fives!”