Serving the High Plains

Notes from the Church Lady: Life can be frustrating, rewarding puzzle

"For the body is not one member, but many." 1 Corinthians 12:14

A few days ago a friend and I were discussing jigsaw puzzles.

There is something comforting about staring at hundreds of pieces of cardboard on a cold, snowy day. There is no hurry to complete the puzzle and it gives a person a chance to get to know the pieces a little better.

I am always drawn to one piece that I seem to pick up over and over determined to make it fit someplace. I try it everywhere and usually end up frustrated when it won't fit anywhere To make matters worse, Mark usually comes along and puts it where it belongs without any effort.

I always learn the hard way that when I don't try to hurry and find where a piece goes, I find two or three that go into place easily. I also learn that it is time to quit for a while when I am trying to force the pieces into place.

When I take time away I am always more relaxed when I return. It teaches me patience, knowing the project could take a week or even a month to complete.

A few years ago, I was given a 1,000-piece puzzle of "It's a Wonderful Life" with George Bailey holding his daughter ZuZu by the Christmas tree.

Those who know me also know this is my favorite Christmas movie and I can quote a great deal of the dialogue. It is at this point of the movie when the angel Clarence gives George a book with the quote, "No man is a failure who has friends".

George learned the hard way throughout the movie that his life affected so many others and through it all, he really had a wonderful life.

Returning to the before mentioned puzzle, it was a calming experience as I remembered various portions of the movie. Of course I must admit there were times I got frustrated and bent the edges of several pieces trying to make them fit.

However, after over two weeks I was down to just a couple of pieces. I triumphantly prepared to put in the final piece, but it was missing. I looked everywhere, but evidently it never made it into the box. It wasn't really an essential piece because it was part of ZuZu's robe. Still it wasn't what it should be because a piece was missing.

This is a long way to get to a point for a religious column but without the entire story, there is no lesson. Each and every part of the story points to the fact that all of us are important, even vital to the lives of others. No one is insignificant in God's eyes as He looks at the completed picture.

Some of us are a little rough around the edges due to circumstances in our lives, and yet we are essential to others as our lives fit together into something beautiful.

Unfortunately, there are some pieces that are missing from our lives this Christmas. Although these people are gone and leave a hole in the picture, we will always have our memories of how they blessed our lives.

Our lives are a puzzle and will sometimes prove difficult, frustrating, and challenging. However, at the end I look forward to saying it was a wonderful life.

Debra Whittington is a longtime resident of Tucumcari. Contact her at:

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