Process Over Product

When the time falls back and darkness beats me home, my evening actities change. I’ve been waiting for this season, prepping for the long hours indoors, gathering the necessary supplies and stacking them in the cabinet. My most recent aquisition has me all giddy with anticipation.

I picked it up on my trip north to see the middle son. Hauled it all the way home on the plane just for “such a time as this.” For the last few weeks I’ve worked in the quiet evening hours, and just a few days ago I celebrated putting the final piece in place.

Puzzle Process

I’ve touched every single tiny piece. One thousand to be exact. There were times I sat in silence, other times I worked in the midst of loud. A few helped along the way. My hubby encourages, “You’re getting closer.”

Closer? Closer to what? Because after it is all said and done then what? What do I do with the completed puzzle? 

I could buy some puzzle glue and permanently stick those pieces together. I could frame it like I do for others in the shop. While this is a good possibility, I won’t.

I know I won’t.

In a few days I’ll disassemble the puzzle and he’ll proclaim, “Oh no! What are you doing. Aren’t you gonna make something out of it?” I’ll smile and shake my head no. He’ll walk away wondering why in the world I went through all the trouble.

I get it, and there are times I wonder the same thing. Why the work? Why go through the process if there’s nothing to show for it in the end. No finished product. No fruit from the labor.

Here’s the thing. I’m wired to produce something. I’m prone to value the finished product over the process. I value results in almost every area of my life. Results in my work, my parenting, my home. Even results in my faith journey. I constantly look for ways to improve what I’m doing to get a better end result.

I go through the motions, rush to finish the process and often miss out on things along the way. Puzzle working reminds me the process is the most important thing.

The first few hours of working a puzzle are the hardest. You pick a piece up, turn it around hoping to find another one with the same shade of blue. Every single piece looks similar with very little to distinguish it from the rest. But after time, once the border is complete and a few areas come together something happens. All the piece turning and sorting makes more sense. I begin to notice shades of color I was unaware existed. It’s like I know the puzzle better and am content with the idea it will eventually create a work of art.

Faith, following Jesus, is a puzzle working process. It’s letting go of the end product and learning each piece has its unique shade of color. Each piece has a divine place, and when the time is right… it will all make sense.

Until that day every moment I spend turning and sorting is an opportunity to know Him more and more.

I sweep puzzle pieces back in the box, and give thanks. Thanks for the process of faith. Each step of the journey to get to where I am. I’m thankful for the good and the not so good because every moment has it’s place in the working of me.

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