A thousand pieces.

The box said 1,000 pieces, but never promised they’d fit together.

It’s now clear I’m not creating the picture on the cover.

In my much younger mind, it should have resembled that perfect cover photo where all the pieces fit so nicely together. But then, my life has been anything but.

The model father, the successful businessman, the picture of fitness, the pillar of the community, I was caught up with illusions of supposed-to-be’s I now render might-have-beens. I threw my hands up and walked away from it many times in frustration over the years–more times than I care to admit, but always returned to the table a little smarter, a little wiser and a little less convinced I was the only working on it.

I always came back to the table.

At some point, I stopped gazing at that idyllic picture placed before me when I first began this journey called life. Having forced every supposed-to-be and worked each want-to-be piece ragged, it was only when I discarded the box top as my guide for one better that the picture unfolded before me.

I’m now about 750 pieces in and it’s finally all coming together. Granted, it’s nothing as I’d imagined, but with some courage, I’ve taken the random pile, turned over all the reluctant pieces, and I’m fitting together something out-of-the-box beautiful that looks more like a miracle than a table full of pastimes.

And when the last piece is placed with my dying breath, I’m certain it will hang as a masterpiece in God’s heavenly gallery, because He bought this puzzle, He completed it, and He called it beautiful from the very start like a good Father should.