I’m putting together puzzles with Lala.
“I got it!” she says, pushing in a section with pudgy fingers smeared with blue marker.
“You were right, Mama!” she says as I fill a gap.
I hold the piece of a brown horse’s tail, and don’t recognize the horse’s behind that matches it. I hold the fruit and can’t tell if it lives on the tree at the top or the shrubs in the corner.
One section is nearly complete. The frame of the puzzle is almost in place. Then there’s the middle — so much left of that pasture with its horse hide polka dots and streaks of blond mane and tail and all the fluttering butterflies.
Soon we complete the puzzle (it’s only 48 pieces after all), and my mind returns to its own fluttering.
I’m thinking about what to write and am whirring with the litany of questions and deep thoughts that have followed me into the week.
Where do I experience temptation? In my places of perceived strength or weakness? Are those the same thing? Why do I feel confident one moment and completely lacking the next? How do we help our girls grow in confidence? What growing pains can we protect them from?
I’m all over the place. Pieces here and there. Some in my hand, some lost in couch cushions, some I’ve never seen, some I’m just plain trying to force.
I’m thinking about my girls and all that lies ahead of them, and all they know and all they don’t know, and all the living they will do that I will know nothing about.
Intentional living preparing them and us, in some small way, for what’s to come. But what strengths and weaknesses will define their lives? What will they choose to believe?
As Dr. Seuss would say, I’ve done so much thinking that my thinker is sore, and none of my thinking feels ready for a post not to bore. (Sorry, Dr. Seuss, you probably wouldn’t say it like that.)
I dearly want to be vulnerable in this place, and I want it to be a place of freedom for me and for you.
Today, being vulnerable means plain old honesty about the fact that sometimes life is the horse’s behind, and I just don’t know where the tail is.
Most of the time I don’t hold pieces that fit neatly together on a wooden board. I don’t cobble together the picture and grin with satisfaction or place it contentedly on a shelf.
This life is a mess of pieces with its finished sections, jagged edges and gaping holes.
Sometimes I’m holding a piece that I feel so ready to lay down where it belongs, but can’t. Other times I lay down a piece I’m not quite ready for, and all around it the gaps remind of my prematurity in laying it down.
Then there are those sweet time-stopping moments when sections give shimmering glimpses of the final product.
Only the Maker holds all the pieces. Top to bottom, side to side, beginning to end. He knows the time to hand us a piece, knows the time for keeping them in His grasp until the sky, pasture and trees fill in a little.
If we’re living awake, we’ve got questions, and they don’t fit in completed pictures, neat categories and smooth-sounding words.
So I guess I’m saying that as part of what I “do” here, I’m creating room for space with more questions than answers.
A place to rest a little more in the not-knowing.
So these pieces may very well be called “Open Endings,” though I might just change my mind down the line.
Tell me now. I’d love to know: What are some of your open endings? What questions are you wrestling with these days? Is there a piece you are holding in your hand that doesn’t seem to fit?