By Katie Helmreich
We’re near the finish line! A 1000 piece puzzle, with 360 Lego Minifigure Faces, almost done! Almost.
With this particular puzzle, few of our standard puzzle-solving tricks seem to work. Literally everything is yellow or shadowed yellow. But we’ve finally got all the faces in!
The pieces we’ve got left are pretty much all Lego necks. We’re to that stagnant stage when you’ve got around 30 pieces left and none of them seem to fit in any of the 30ish gaps that are left.
One Lego lady is missing a fair amount of her distinctively blue goggles, and there’s no way on it’s one of these pieces. Maybe it’s lost? Time will tell.
One of the pieces has a randomly long strip of white on the edge that absolutely does NOT make sense. I’ve tried it everywhere. Multiple times.
But just now it clicked into place. Crazy!
I’m still not entirely sure how it worked. I even took the piece back out and looked at it again: it still doesn’t look like that piece should fit in that opening. But it does!
We’re all at home this week, sniffling our way through COVID and quarantine, so I’ve spent a lot of time working on this puzzle lately. It’s not what I had planned for this week, but it’s what I have energy for.
Looking at these random, impossible pieces reminds me of times when our plans have fallen apart into chaos.
Last summer the kids and I when down to my parents’ house and planned to take a day trip to see my grandma together. A sweet and simple plan! That was derailed almost immediately when the Suburban started growling like a rock tumbler before we’d driven a quarter mile.
We turned around and gingerly encouraged the Suburban back into my parents’ driveway. By the time I put it in park it was billowing smoke. (The kids have never leapt out of the vehicle as fast as they did that morning!)
Ben, my husband and tele-mechanic, was able to diagnose the issue via video chat. Mom and I eventually figured out a multi-step plan for getting a different vehicle, and we had a precious visit with Grandma after all!
While we were gone, Ben packed up some tools and drove down to handle the issue with the Suburban. It didn’t take him long to get it to a point where it was safe to drive home. And since he was already there, Ben tackled a big project my parents were unable to do because of their own, recently derailed plans.
Looking at the pieces individually, none of it makes sense. Some of the pieces didn’t even seem to be part of the same puzzle! How does billowing smoke fit into the same picture as plumbing progress? Our schedule was pretty tight at the time; how in the world did all the events of that day fit into the same 10 hours?
The day was even more memorably special because it clicked into place so neatly after all had seemed impossible!
There’s a lot we do to order our lives. Without a plan, nothing happens. It’s a great feeling when things come together and we get a bit of momentum going as the pieces fit together!
At other times, we sit staring at the same 30 odd Lego Minifigure neck puzzle pieces wondering how this will ever be anything.
Sometimes we’re more aware of the fact that our plans are simply within God’s plans. God’s plans don’t often make obvious sense, especially before hand.
But then …
The impossible happens again. Unexpected connections are made and relationships formed. Miracles happen. Sometimes prayers aren’t answered the way we’d hoped. Instead, we’re blessed with opportunities to see how our hardship helped to prepare us to support others.
The only way to finish the puzzle is to keep trying each piece, one at a time, one gap at a time if need be. It’ll come together. The people that made the puzzle wouldn’t have thrown in any that aren’t part of this picture. (Although it is entirely possible we’ve lost that piece with that lady’s goggles …)
It takes time and persistence. And like a lot of things, it’s better when you work with someone else; better still if you work while sharing a good conversation or an audiobook.
What is God doing with that weird piece in your life right now? Not sure. But let’s keep on keeping on. The One who made us wouldn’t have given us the wrong pieces.
Let’s look at it from a different angle, or maybe come back to it later. In the meantime, it’s a joy to be working alongside you! Won’t it feel awesome when we see how that piece clicks into place?
And if it turns out a piece is actually missing or lost? Well, we know a few good stories that tell of the lengths Jesus will go to find it …