For those unfamiliar with my "puzzles," you can check out the entire story from a previous blog - (Just doesn't fit) - but in a nutshell it was about how each person is important to the picture. In the lesson I gave each person a puzzle piece and they put their name on the piece and then added it to the completed picture. Without every "piece" the picture would be incomplete. Cool lesson, huh.
But yesterday I learned something more.
You see, lately I've been dealing with unforgiveness. Oh, I know, as Christian I'm supposed to know how to do this....but I still struggle sometimes. I'm like that song by Tenth Ave. North called "Losing". When I forgive it feels like I'm the one losing. My usual reaction to the situation is to simply avoid the one who caused me pain. That works (or so I think it does) unless the one I have to forgive is someone I must see daily, then it gets a bit (make that a whole lot) more difficult.
Anyway, yesterday I looked at that puzzle from years ago and there at the very top was that name, the one of the person who had caused me so much pain that year. There was the name of the student who had bullied me. It may surprise people to learn that teachers can be bullied, too. After all, teachers have a place of power! (Not if they approach teaching as a place of service but that's for another blog.) At any rate, there was the name of the student who had subtly bullied me all year until at last he/she stepped over the line and was removed from my class. It was a mild threat but one that finally revealed what was happening. Once the student was removed, I realized that what I thought was just a difficult situation was truly one of bullying. As I looked at that puzzle piece, some of that year came back to mind.
If anyone had asked me, I'd have said I would rather that the student had never been a part of that year. Life would have been so much easier for me and all those around me. I can't say I ever reached that student despite prayers, second (third, fourth, fifth, etc.) chances. I can't say I've even reached the place where my stomach doesn't tighten when I think of that student or that year. I look at some of the other names in the puzzle and realize that one name almost causes me to forget all the others that were such a blessing.
That one name. That one puzzle piece. That one part of the picture.
But you see, that is what hit me. Underneath the puzzle I have a quote from It's a Wonderful Life. It's that part where Clarence the angel says, "Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he."
Without that person who had caused me so much pain, the picture would be incomplete.
There would be a hole in the picture.
Are you seeing what I am seeing? That person I wish I had never had to deal had a part in helping create my life's picture. The question is, what will I do with that "piece." Will I allow it to be a painful dig, or start to look at it as a beautiful part of the painting God is creating in my life?
It's such a small piece, but without it the picture would be incomplete.
Our life story, a picture of Christ's love and redemption. It has a lot of pieces....everyone is a part of a beautiful picture in Him.
Forgiveness is a difficult, sometimes painful piece - but without it the picture simply would not be whole and complete.