I learned to appreciate the immense joy of building jigsaw puzzles from my maternal grandmother, of blessed memory. I remember spending afternoons and evenings in my pre-teen years around her dining room table, eating popcorn, sharing stories, listening to the radio, and building 2000-piece puzzles.
It’s a pastime that my spouse and I both enjoy, and we are excited that our boys are getting old enough to share it with us. The current project (pictured above) is a 1000-piece picture of Jerusalem called “Shabbat Afternoon.” Last week, my spouse asked our oldest boy if he knew why I love puzzles so much. He said no, so she explained, “because it all goes together to be one!!” And it’s true! There’s incredible joy for me in being able to “fix what is broken,” to determine how the pieces fit together, and to bring harmony and wholeness where there had been only disorder and chaos.
And, if we think of G-d being manifest in all of creation, then creation is like a giant puzzle with an infinite number of pieces, and each of us is a piece of that puzzle. Without each piece, the puzzle could not be complete; and without the puzzle, the pieces would not exist!!
Our “job” while alive is to help G-d move toward completion of the puzzle. First, we each must find our place in the puzzle — without cramming ourselves somewhere we don’t fit, tearing off a piece of ourselves to try to fit, or dislodging anyone else. Then, once we find our place, we have to help others find their places as well — being careful always not to disrupt the sections of the puzzle that were already completed by others.
Over time, as more of creation is repaired, we will begin to see that we all are part of a single picture . . . a beautiful mosaic in which each of us has a designated spot where we will fit comfortably with those around us and from which we will be able to see the immense beauty in the divine picture that surrounds us . . .
wishing each of you a safe and happy 2014, jen