Puzzles come in all different shapes and sizes. But they always come with a full picture on the box. You always know what the bigger picture is. You always know where each puzzle piece goes. You know that the pieces of the puzzle fit together; you don’t have to wait and see, or hope that the puzzle will come together; you know the answer before you even begin.
‘Life’s a puzzle.’ It’s a phrase that I’m sure you’ve heard before. Except; we don’t get given the cover picture. Our puzzle is made up of thousands of pieces; each puzzle piece is fundamental to the bigger picture and our life journey.
I’ve been fortunate to have my puzzle filled with global adventures and shenanigans. I’d disappear to places, booking one-way flights and just seeing where I end up. For years, this was the life I led, and it was great!
Just over a year ago, I was off on another one of these adventures. I’d hit a rough patch and needed to go find myself. I realised that if you feel like you’re lost, you often need to physically go somewhere and find yourself. You can’t do that by standing still in the unknown place you’re currently in. Just over a year ago, I was lost. While lost and travelling around the wilderness I was happy. But I was incomplete. There was something missing.
I ended up roaming around deserts for half a year in Israel and Palestine. Probably the same deserts Jesus walked. Yet for some reason, I couldn’t stop roaming around to different places.
A dear friend, Kfir, said to me: “You’re not ready to leave, you’re on a journey, a spiritual journey. You want something, you want that feeling. Until you find that, you’ll be lost in the wilderness.” He said this to me in a desert.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. That’s what we’re told in Proverbs 3:5.
Sometimes there are puzzle pieces that give challenges, and it can be tough to see the brightness that’s on the surrounding puzzle pieces. When you get stuck on a dark puzzle piece, it can be difficult to escape from that rut.
But as Victor Hugo writes in Les Miserables: “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”
The next morning, the sun rose on a new day. I checked my emails (which was a rare thing for me to do). At the very top of my emails was a message called, ‘Pilgrimage2Paris – Climate pilgrimage.’ I instantly clicked on the email. I wasn’t even sure what a pilgrimage was, but I was more excited about this than anything I’d been excited about in a really long time. As I continued to read the email, I realised I could be walking to COP21. I’d wanted to attend this event. The perfect opportunity to do so had landed straight in my inbox.
The rough edges of the puzzle were starting to smooth over.
Suddenly, I was a pilgrim, among people oozing with faith and testimony. Yet I couldn’t remember the last time I’d knelt down in sincere prayer, or not even kneeling, just taking time to really pray, and not as a panic prayer, a real prayer, that was dedicated with my heart and time.
I was so hesitant about going to Sunday service as I knew they were having Eucharist. A friend was (probably unknowingly) really supportive and procrastinated with me on that morning. It was comforting to know I could share my silent turmoil and not be alone.
Praying during the pilgrimage was hard. I hadn’t been around Christians in a long time. I hadn’t prayed in a church service for even longer.
I eventually went to the service, sitting at the back and repeating responses/reading from the paper. Again, the same friend came and sat with me. I was no longer a lone. I was a pilgrim, journeying towards the answers I’d been searching for. I wanted to have the conviction of faith that others had, I just needed to realise what I was missing.
The missing piece of the puzzle? Prayer. I’d spent so much time in my life focusing on reality puzzle pieces, that I’d neglected my spiritual puzzle pieces. No wonder I felt lost.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer, we read in Romans 12:12.
Each puzzle piece, whether the dark, the light or the beautiful, the ugly; it makes me stronger and builds my spiritual strength. All the pieces of the puzzle eventually fit together no matter the shape or size of the puzzle piece. The pieces form the larger picture of life, making me who I am.