The Puzzling Way of Puzzles

Alex L (2020 Alumnus)

I don’t know about you, but I have always hated puzzle pieces – even today. The painstaking idea of having to shift through millions of miniature puzzle pieces to create this magnificent picture of the ocean or a well-known landmark… For me personally, I could never even make it halfway through them before throwing a tantrum.  

So why am I talking about puzzle pieces?  

Funny enough, when you look at it from a distance, your life is very much like a million puzzle pieces. It seems chaotic, stressful, and anxiety driven. As you attempt to shift through what seems like an endless amount of barriers and what seems to be hours of investment, it can be disappointing, or even disheartening when you find yourself exactly where you began: the three and only three pieces that fit together.  

I know as a 2020 William Clarke College graduate, there have been various moments where I have struggled to piece together the puzzle of my life. Sure, there have been moments where I thought I was in control, and that I was riding the wave towards the end goal. Yet somehow, it’s always been those moments where life would throw the greatest curveballs. Leaving William Clarke College, believing that I knew how my life was going to turn out, and that I had all the pieces ready was indeed a bold thing to think about. Turns out I was to be proven wrong; time and time again.  

As a second-year university student, there are times where I say to myself, “ How on earth did I make it this far?” The laughs, the joys, and the mad dash across in order to attend my tutorials on time would be some of my standout memories. However, in continuing with the lovely puzzle piece metaphor, as I traversed through adulthood, there have been moments where I realised or have shown that certain pieces of the puzzle, no matter how hard you try to fit them, will just not match! There have been times when I doubted whether I made the right choice or not of pursuing my degree, and it’s still something that I will continue pondering on for the years to come.  

Something that has and is continuing to change how I have been trying to fit together the puzzle of my life is my faith in God. I knew that the moment I left high school, I wanted to surround myself within a church community that would not only allow me to grow in my journey with Him, but would love one another and carry each other’s burdens. As I reflect over the last year or so, something that has stood out to me is how I have been blessed with so much more than what I had initially been seeking. Having not only found a church community that I call my second family, but being able to meet various Christians from all walks of life has been incredibly encouraging! From doing walk-up evangelism at beaches, to leading my first ever youth camp, I still remain in shock and awe as to how good God is. A verse that has come up and is something that I have been dwelling on comes from Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.” Sometimes we can get so carried away in thinking that we know what we want or that our way is the right way, but this verse just says so much to the contrary.  

As I now write this, I can’t help but just smile at how crazy but wild this journey has been. Whilst I can’t see how everything is going to all fit together or what it’s going to look like, I know that it will be a surprise that’s going to work for the glory of God one way or another. So, I say to all everyone currently at WCC: it’s all right if you can’t seem to piece together your puzzle. It’s all right if you haven’t even found your starting piece or what the picture of your life is going to look like. As young men and women, sometimes the answer to knowing what your life is going to look like, is to give everything a go, even if it doesn’t work. You can never know if two pieces don’t belong together if you don’t try and match them first. I just want to end on this verse which I had found encouraging: Jeremiah 29:11 “ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.