Are you a puzzler? Sounds like a villain from some ancient comic book series, doesn’t it? I’m not sure what they are called, but I am referring to “one who does jigsaw puzzles.” (Check out my social media if you want the answers to what they are really called…) At the start of the Coronavirus lockdown, we, like all the other families we know, got out the puzzles. Gonna be stuck for couple of weeks, might as well tackle that 1000 piece object of frustration, right? Or maybe you are the 1500 or 2000 piece master. Hats off to you. Ours started out well. The youngest was determined to finish… even time-lapsing the evidence to show the progress (see below). Alas, our kitchen table was no match for the unfinished work of art. Pieces began to slide and fall off, lost to the abyss of the living room floor. The table was taken up with other projects, and the purple flowers of the Thomas Kinkade painting eventually all blended in with the blue-green grass. We were “done” — the puzzle soon became too time consuming for our small attention spanned minds. The box got put back in the cupboard again. Maybe if we had a dedicated workspace. (I say this for about half the projects I start). I have a friend who refinished a table just for puzzles. I recall basements of older relatives set up with folding card and T.V. tables with jigsaws on them. I honour ya’ll with thought and admiration for your dedication. Sorry, not our cup of tea.
Which is probably detrimental to our mental health. They tell me puzzle building is good for your brain. It makes all kinds of connections between your left and right brain hemispheres and releases “good” brain chemicals leading to calmer emotions, better memory, creativity, and eventually can raise your IQ levels by up to 4 points. Does it have to be the kind of puzzle that takes up my dining room table, though? Perhaps my denim quilt will achieve the same results… or matching tupperware lids. Or dividing brownies into enough pieces to last longer than two days in a house full of teens. Those are puzzles, right?! But, I digress…
The idea of “the puzzler” and cutting out almost 500 squares of denim for above said quilt project, had me thinking about the idea of piece work. Many of you are familiar with the Bible’s description of the church as different parts of one body. 1 Corinthians 12 goes on to explain in details how all the parts fit to make a complete whole — much like the pieces of the puzzle are designed to complete the picture (eventually — if you have the patience!).
As a beginner quilter, I have new appreciation for the work that goes into a huge quilt… so many tiny stitches and pieces of fabric tediously folded and tucked — often by multiple hands to complete a masterpiece! I can’t help but think God has a folding card table set up somewhere in Heaven for His puzzle of “the Church”. Or a great sewing room somewhere with giant quilts of age-old stories weaved together with tiny, perfect stitching.
We’ve been blessed in the last couple of weeks to “fish around” a bit for a variety of online church services and worship videos. Not because we don’t love our own church body, but because isolation has given us the opportunity to see what the world is doing! His church is alive and reaching out in new and wonderful ways. We’ve had to be creative and be challenged to work together to get things done. We may be physically distant, but we are certainly not isolated! Much like the quilters of old — each working on our part of the puzzle to create a masterpiece. Younger and able bodied groups are reaching out to seniors. Gifted musicians are joining together to make concerts on balconies. Bakers and baristas are serving frontline workers. The internet has exploded with “church online”… with traditional and non-traditional services being broadcasted world wide. We need to put aside our differences and look beyond our tiny warped piece and see how our bumps and grooves align with dips and waves of others. Do we fit? Can we flip to fit even better? Does our straight edge align with the straight edge of others to frame the puzzle? Does our flash of colour blend with other, similar flashes to blend into a beautiful tapestry? Who are we to think that we have all the answers? Perhaps the Master Puzzler has given us this world wide pandemic because He wanted to pull out the old Heavenly folding card table for awhile and mix up some puzzle pieces and make something beautiful out of us. And He’s got a whole lot more patience then we do! What will you do with your piece of the puzzle?