Thursday, February 4, 2010

Puzzle Piece

Written: 29 Jan, 2010 – Posted: 4, Feb 2010
Place: “Tea Town” – S. Asia

I walked up the stairs to my room tonight – each concrete stair a different depth, requiring more concentration to move from point A to point B than normal.  My mind started to wander as I turned the corner and set up the second set of stairs to my room.  I glanced at the sign on the wall, “No spitting on the wall” – and wondered, ‘why do I feel right here?’  Is it because I too am against spitting on walls?  Is it because I enjoy the challenge of climbing an uneven staircase?  Is it because I have a passion in my heart, that cannot be explained, for the people of this land?  Is it because know the One who calls me and can’t help but cry for those who have not yet heard Him calling them in their own language?
I realized today that I am a puzzle piece!  And somehow, I ‘fit’ here.  Here in South Asia.

This 'South Asian puzzle' is quite different from the more Western puzzle I came from.  The South Asian puzzle has completely different graphics, sounds, and smells.  Yet, somehow, the way that I am shaped- the corners, the edges, the good, the bad….it all fits into this puzzle!  Granted, the top of the puzzle piece – the colors, looks, and sounds, don't quite match the rest of the puzzle here.  In fact, it stands out from the rest.

But, there is a space here in this puzzle that is shaped the same exact way that my puzzle piece is shaped.

And while it doesn’t look the same as the rest of the puzzle here, it does fit.

Bottom line - I do fit in South Asia...but...not quite.

But there is another puzzle that I fit into as well.  It is the place where I grew up, surrounded by the people who know and love me best.  ‘Home’ is also a place where I ‘fit.’  I look the same on the top of the puzzle piece, and generally match the rest of the pieces in terms of design and color, at least most of the time- (sometimes my sister has to make sure I look culturally appropriate, and coordinated before leaving the house!!)

However, the corners, edges have been altered a bit- through various experiences.  And, when putting the puzzle together, one might notice that my piece doesn’t quite slide into place as easily as maybe it once did.

The bottom line there is: I fit in that space too...but...not quite.

Somehow, piecing this example together in my mind helped me grapple once again with the idea of loving more than one place and people at the same time.  It helped me realize why sometimes I feel so ‘at home’ here in South Asia, and then at other times feel, and truly accept that I am definitely the odd one out, and really don't 'fit' in the way that everyone else around me does, and why sometimes I have similar feelings when I'm at "home."

Yet, as I think about these puzzles of my life, I'm comforted because I think that they are actually part of a master puzzle.  A huge puzzle that contains these two, specific puzzles, and also many more seemingly unrelated mini puzzles.

Think about this for a second.  While I may partially fit in two different puzzles in this life, there is a Grand Puzzle that combines every culture, language and people group into one!  It is the biggest, brightest, most textured puzzle you’ve ever seen.  It blends everyone together, yet maintaining every single thing that makes each one of us unique.

Actually, the unique design, colors, size, corners, edges- it connects perfectly and blends into the rest of the puzzle – so much so, that one can’t even see that there are separate pieces.  To the onlooker, it just looks like a single panoramic picture of the most glorious scenery the eye has ever seen (perhaps an idea taken from a sight in New Zealand?! ;) ).  There is no question if a part of the picture fits with the rest.  There is no wondering if one section was taken from another scene because it’s colors aren’t matching or the piece is slightly offset from the rest.  Colors combine.  Corners connect.  It all flows together

This Grand Puzzle has already been started to be put together piece by piece.  There are still big chunks missing, but I think sometimes we have a glimpse of some of the work, and can get just enough of an idea to know that the final display will be truly remarkable.

I can’t wait.

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