Thursday, July 22, 2010

Puzzle's Pieces

Summer's been hot and dry, not just on the outside, though I've collected a few moist towelettes for future use. Here's one from a few weeks ago:

For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. John 3:34

“God has a plan” we’re told
at every twist and turn.
When I stop to look and listen
I sometimes catch a glimpse.

Not enough to figure out
why our lives are full of hurt,
much less the way things
are working together and out.

Six billion is the last number
I heard used to name the count
of earth’s people currently alive,
so maybe we’re all part of a puzzle

with that many pieces to fit together.
This doesn’t even begin to include
all those who’ve passed before us:
pieces of the communion of saints.

But since we’re being honest here,
which poetry has a way of doing
with few words to hide behind
and truth erupting from its vast blank space,

I must confess that most of the time
I find myself imagining a much smaller puzzle,
a 10 or 20 piece version whose box reads,
“Six months to one year.”

Is that how long it’ll take me to finish,
or how old (mature?) I’m acting,
or the limits of my vision?
Some days it seems like all three.

In this much smaller puzzle, of course,
as intimate and manageable as it is,
I am always the central, most important piece,
in the same way that channelers

always reach back into our past
and find that, once upon a time,
we were, of course, royalty,
and never lower-caste peasants.

But as the universe’s true size and age
sink into my dense gray matter,
I sometimes ponder its enormity
that might as well be infinity.

Suppose I am merely—
and I say merely because
I’m thinking small and selfishly again—
a tiny piece of gorgeous blue sky

that fits into a few million other blues
to reflect the absolute beauty
of a single snapshot in time,
captured on an artist’s canvas?

How many times do you think
that eyes roll and sighs flow from God,
exasperated that I’m looking to become
anything and everything except

the very thing for which I was created?
Not that my piece of the puzzle
is not placed in a single right location—
the only spot that it correctly fits—

but that I refuse altogether
to let it fit in any of the many places
it might have twisted and clicked
to fit a hole in the universe’s scheme

that my absence makes so obvious.
On my computer the other day
I saw an image that, from far away,
looked like nothing more

than a single, familiar celebrity’s face.
But when I clicked on any given spot
I zoomed in to find that each pixel patch
was actually composed of many other faces.

Funny how easily we can be convinced
by fear, anxiety, envy and control,
that our own comfortable little perspective
must be THE true universal reality.

© 2010 Todd Jenkins