Last night my friend and I were chatting over appetizers about the joys and sorrows of our lives, and as often is the case with faith friendships, at some point the conversation began to go deep.
Well, not apparently so at first. We were on the subject of puzzles and how much she enjoys them — the challenge of taking a bunch of seemingly random pieces and trying to figure out how they all fit together. She was weaving the story of her life with children, how her boys used to sit down with her and do the puzzles with her, and how now that they’re teens they’ll pop in and out but not sit for the duration.
Honestly, I thought the conversation was going to be about teenagers and their changing needs, but instead, it became something about humanity as she talked about the times she’s gotten all the way through a puzzle, piece by piece, only to find out at the very end that one piece is missing. One piece! And how much that bothers her — that one piece that has departed, is nowhere to be found.
That’s when things got more serious. “It recently occurred to me that that puzzle piece is us,” she said. “Each of us. I really think it is. That’s how important we are. When one of us is gone, even one of us, it’s just not right.”
And I realized, yeah, she’s right! I mean, that’s how God feels about us. He’s brought us here for a reason, right now, at this particular time in history. We are all the many parts of His one body. So when one of us goes missing…something is off, something isn’t right, and the world will not be right, will not be set on course, until all of the pieces are in place.
That won’t happen in this world, of course. It can’t. And we live with that tension — the incompleteness that oftentimes fuels us, keeps us seeking. Something’s not right yet. Something’s missing.
There are many points to be made with this one thought of a missing puzzle piece. For one, each of us counts, indelibly, unimaginably, too. The other is that we count. We can’t even begin to know our worth. We see ourselves from the inside out only. Everyone else sees us from the outside in. God sees it all. And someday we will see ourselves the way God does, and we will realize just how significant our piece was, how essential, how crucial, as well as the importance of everyone whose lives touched ours, whether for a moment or for our earthly lifetime.
I’m telling you, it’s going to happen. We can’t control when, we can only control what we do while we wait.
I can’t leave today without mentioning the upcoming beatification of Pope John Paul II. What a dear man he was and is! I grappled today with dedicating my Friday post to him or the puzzle piece. I decided that it’s all connected, especially after I heard a fellow blogger talk this morning on Catholic radio about the chance she had (and denied herself) to meet the Pope in person one year when she was a teenager. She said something to the effect that later, she realized that not having taken the chance, and knowing what she knows now of our former Pope, she’s certain he felt her absence, since this particular man has always been gifted at looking upon each person as a unique, unrepeatable individual. Because of that, she feels that her absence was glaring that day, like a missing puzzle piece. Something wasn’t right.
But it’s all been made right now. She’s a religious Sister, a self-described media nun (see her blog, Hell Burns) on fire for the Lord and enamored with the legacy John Paul II has left us. Even her near crossing with the Pope set her life on a completely different course. She’s doing what she can to keep her puzzle piece visible and connected to the rest of the flock.
My friend Lisa Hendey will be in Rome this coming week, arriving just as the beatification of JPII is underway. She will gather with 150 other bloggers in a special Vatican-sponsored meeting on social media and faith. This is a tremendous opportunity for Lisa, and she considers herself a representative for all Catholic bloggers out there. In turn, please consider following Lisa during her visit to hear about the exciting events in Rome in the coming week. I know I will! You can find out more here about how to keep up with Lisa’s adventure. Also, here’s an article from the online Catholic news sources, Zenit featuring an interview with Lisa in preparation for this gathering.
Q4U: What lesson do you take from the analogy of the missing puzzle piece?