Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: PUZZLE (11/24/16)
- TITLE: Completed Picture
By C D Swanson
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Even her one room bedroom efficiency apartment, situated in the facility in which she lived out her years, exuded her personality in subtle tones, while delivering a deep message.
Upon entering the room, the words of Joshua 24:15, “As for me and my house we will serve the LORD” enclosed in a green picture frame, sat majestically on the wall.
On an end table, a Holy Bible nuzzled alongside another picture frame, with the 23rd Psalm in cursive writing.
If one didn’t get a sense of her faith by the Bible verses, it became evidently apparent after viewing a large cross displayed on the wall, high above her bed. With the words, “fall to your knees” directly under it.
She was soft spoken, gentle, yet strong in her beliefs, and held tight to her faith, irrespective of obstacles, or hurdles thrust in her path, during her highway of life.
She was amazingly elegant, and articulate in speech, and had a way of explaining things that opened up an entirely new perspective to the harshest critic of faith. Or to someone with no belief values. It was almost poetic.
One of the most moving conversations occurred one wintry day. "Nora" needed help with an issue she was having. I offered to call the state department and was promptly placed on hold. And, to those who are familiar with the state, and its waiting time on hold, it’s tedious, and frustratingly long, to say the least.
While on hold, a nurse’s aide burst into the room. The dialogue began with “Nora.”
“How did your night go Jemma?”
“It was okay, I guess. Nothing’s changed.”
I turned and caught “Nora” patting the bed for Jemma to sit.
“Honey, life is a puzzle. Sometimes we’re searching for the missing piece to complete the picture.”
“Yeah. But, what happens if we never find it?”
“Nora” reached for Jemma’s hand. “I’ve never asked you this. But, do you believe in God?”
“Yeah…but, I can’t understand how bad things can happen to good people. You know. I don’t know how He can ignore my prayers…”
“Again I’ll mention a puzzle. When we’re born we each come with one puzzle piece. As we go through life, or milestones, we get another piece of the puzzle. The pieces of the puzzle come from life, and our journey…and the picture becomes clearer with each milestone, or significant tribulation. Faith is like a puzzle.”
Jemma smiled and leaned forward toward “Nora.”
“Jemma. God wants us to lean on Him for all things. Sure, He gives us free will to choose, but He expects our choices to be aligned with His word. And to stay focused on Him no matter what. With each trial we overcome, thanks to His strength, we get another piece of the puzzle. The picture of faith becomes clearer and bigger each time. You understand?”
“I guess. But, when does the puzzle get finished? When do we get the whole picture?”
This time I turned and focused fully on this magnificent, beautiful woman, who touched my heart, as well as others. I could hardly wait for her answer.
“The puzzle never stops. It gets bigger and bigger as you go through life…and your growth in the LORD, gets bigger along with the puzzle. When we pass away, and are called home, that puzzle of our life comes with us. It is how the LORD will judge us…based on our puzzle.”
I watched that intimate, mesmerizing encounter, and knew it was a blessing to have witnessed. One in which I’ll never forget.
“Nora” passed away one month later. She had left select staff notes. I was one of the fortunate ones to have received one.
I chose to read her last words in my office. It was a long letter of thanks, mixed with metaphors, and love. However, it was the last paragraph which really choked me up:
“In closing, don’t cry for me. I’m with the LORD. But most important, my puzzle has finally been completed. Sweet lady, please continue filling in your puzzle…until we meet again. God bless you abundantly.”
Please note: This is based on a true encounter. The words in the conversation are as I remember them. And, “Nora” – whose name was changed to protect her identity, lives on in my heart. I’m sure her completed puzzle picture was as magnificent as she was…
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