Friday, March 16, 2012

Pieces of the Puzzle

You probably know about the "yellow ribbon" loop worn to indicate support for soldiers and others in dangerous situations away from home. Perhaps you also know about the "red ribbon" loop for AIDS and the "pink ribbon" loop for breast cancer. What you may not know is that there is a whole rainbow of "awareness ribbons" representing support for every cause imaginable. A navy ribbon symbolizes human trafficking; an orange ribbon leukemia; a silver ribbon mental illness. (Among other things. Most colors have been appropriated by multiple causes; see Wikipedia for an extensive list.)

Particularly intriguing is the "puzzle ribbon" for autism, which comprises a pattern of assorted bright colors shaped like interlocked jigsaw puzzle pieces. According to the Autism Society, "The puzzle pattern reflects the mystery and complexity of the autism spectrum. The different colors and shapes represent the diversity of the people and families living with the condition. The brightness of the ribbon signals hope—hope that through increased awareness of autism, and through early intervention and appropriate treatments, people with autism will lead fuller, more complete lives."

Perhaps the "puzzle ribbon" should also signify the fallen human condition. In a sense, all of us have autism: not merely unwilling, but literally unable, to see past our own immediate desires and form an accurate picture of reality. Most jigsaw puzzle pieces, by themselves, show no more visible "picture" than does a quick paint smear from a brush touched to the palette at random: likewise with the individual events of our lives. Absorbed in each event as it happens, we frequently moan that life makes no sense.

Praise God, He gives us the brightness of hope through Jesus Christ, weaving our fragmented lives into a beautiful picture that we will ultimately see clearly. 

Strewn before the eyes in fragments--
Few make sense when viewed alone--
Each a different splotch of color,
Void of meaning in its tone.
Yet, with patient, careful working,
Slow but certain, wholeness grows,
Till, each piece at last positioned,
Then the final picture shows.

Human lives are ever splintered:
Things that happen, on their own,
Often splotched with pain and heartache,
Make small sense when viewed alone.
Yet, be patient with God's working,
As His purpose slowly grows,
Till your life, all things completed,
His eternal meaning shows!

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