Puzzle Pieces

In life, we don’t know what each day will bring. We’d like to think we can plan and have a pretty good picture of our future, but deep down we know the outcome can be quite different than anything we’d anticipated.

We have an image in our head, much like seeing a scene on the cover of a puzzle box. My scene would have a couple of comfortable chairs sitting atop a grassy knoll that faces the ocean. It would be a sunny day with seagulls perched along a seawall. There’d be flowers, a shade tree, and blue skies. A blanket would lay across the lawn, and upon the blanket would sit a plate of fresh melon and strawberries that overflowed its brim along with a pitcher of sweet tea; fresh mint would float amidst the ice. My husband’s hand would be entwined with mine as he sits by my side, and our kids would be flying kites with their children. They’d be laughing and life would be as pretty as a picture. 

The problem is…

Our life’s puzzle doesn’t come with an image that we can see. No, we have been given millions of pieces that we must try and fit together, hoping beyond all hope that the pieces we hold actually belong in the same box, and if so, the resulting image will match our vision of the future. I dare say it probably won’t. All we can do is pick up one piece at a time, see where it falls in this thing called life, and trust that those pieces were given to us for a reason, for a season, for our lifetime. 

Real life and fiction

Readers often ask how I come up with the storylines for my books–my puzzles. First, I open my mind’s ‘puzzle box’ and look for all the edges. My edges would comprise of main characters, their issues, and their goals. Keep in mind, there isn’t a picture on this box, as that image will appear when the book/puzzle is complete. Next, I write, and let my imagination soar. I trust my edges/boundaries, and the process, then let the pieces fall where they may. Before I know it, piece by piece will begin to come together and give me a glimpse of imagery here and there. As time goes on, it fills in with more clarity until the final piece is set into place, and when that last piece is laid, I’m just as surprised as you are with the image before me.

Isn’t life that way?

We start with our character, values, and goals–our edges. These truths will steer us in the direction of people and places. Sometimes, no matter how much we try to make the pieces fit, they won’t work together and simply weren’t meant to be. Then comes the unexpected, yet anticipated pieces that do work together. They’ll fit perfectly, and you’ll know you’re on the right path. 

In your life, you will hold pieces that won’t make a lot of sense; the key is to keep going. Sure, you’ll get discouraged and frustrated, but in the end, you’ll one day be able to stand back, and your life’s story may be more vibrant and beautiful than you could have ever dreamed. My hope is that you look upon your life’s puzzle and see it for the masterpiece that it truly is. 



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