If we could see that everything, even tragedy, is a gift in disguise, we would then find the best way to nourish the soul.
This past Christmas Tom received a puzzle of 1,000 pieces. He hasn’t put a puzzle together in a very long time. When he looks at all the pieces jumbled and scattered, some face up, some face down, many pieces looking exactly the same, he is intimidated. Putting the pieces together to form a picture of beauty and cohesion seems to be impossible.
Life is often like that puzzle just dumped out of the box, before any piece is connected with another. None of it makes any sense.
Often times in difficult situations we ask ourselves, “Why?”
“Why is this happening to us?” “What did I do to deserve this?” “None of this makes sense.”
Three years ago Tom was working in a job that left him somewhat discontent and unfulfilled. The promise of the job did not live up to its disappointing reality. His feelings of restlessness did not allow him to find true joy and contentment in who he was. And so he make the very difficult decision to leave the position … especially with two small children at home to feed and a wife whose nursing job was only part-time. At one point in the months to follow, while Tom took a minimum wage job, with very little money coming in, he and his family lived in his sister-in-law’s attic until they could save enough to find a place they could afford. It was a dark season for them. Throughout that season Tom went through a painful time of wondering how – and why – did this become part of his story. “What good was his Master’s Degree doing for him now?”
Sometime later Michael’s counseling position came to an end, amid budget cuts and changing priorities. It caused him, too, to question, “Why?” – and “What’s next? Within four days of his job ending his family had another loss, the passing of his mother-in-law. It was an intense period, full of soul searching and discernment.
During that days that followed we were able to spend a lot more time together. We both shared openly with one another our feelings of uncertainty, our concerns about security, our questions about who we really were meant to be. For months we talked and listened. We began reading books together, books by others who contemplated the meaning of their lives and the purpose meant for their days. The more conversations we had, the more books we read and the more time we spent together sharing and in solitude, the more clarity we started to receive. And as we looked back we were able to start seeing clearly and definitively the connection points which brought us together – and which were leading us now toward a more purposeful path.
For most of us, we struggle to see clearly in the moment of discontent and pain what our lives are all about. And it isn’t until afterwards – sometimes months, sometimes years later – until we are able to look back to see how the pieces of the puzzle come to fit together. But, when we look and when we are open to seeing, we can come to clearly understand just how the pieces begin to fit together and present us with a picture that is beautiful to behold, far more than we could ever have imagine possible at the start.
Many events might seem random in the moment. but often times we you look back on events you begin to see that those events were not so random, but formed, shaped and molded you to be stronger, more understanding, wiser, more forgiving and more full of grace. those events could ultimately serve as inspiration to someone else, to enable them to be those things too.