Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Life As A Puzzle

Last night, as I was sitting in a church board meeting, the senior pastor noted that most of us tend to think that life is linear- we make progress as we go along. But he thinks that in the church, life is more like a mosaic, like pieces coming together to form something.

As I thought about that, I started to think about my own life and my having Aspergers. Immediately what came to mind was a puzzle, or more exactly, the symbol used for Autism Awareness: ribbon that is also a puzzle of differing colors.

In some ways, such a symbol makes sense. For those who care for someone with an autistic-related disorder and even for the person themselves, life can be a puzzle. Things don't make sense. What we expect is not what happens.

For me, life has been a puzzle, especially before my diagnosis. I couldn't understand why life didn't work the way it was "supposed" to. I didn't understand why it was so hard to make friends or date or keep a job. Even after being diagnosed, there are still questions- more puzzles.

But I wonder if that's the way life is. Going back to the church, it can be so easy to expect that a church must progress along a line: do this and this will happen. Don't do this, this will happen and so on. But what if church life is actually a puzzle where we place on piece at a time and see if it fits. And then we try another piece. And another. And so on. Step by step, faith by faith.

And maybe that's it. Life as a mosaic or puzzle means that we have to have faith that it will work out. It means that in time the picture will become clear. It means we can step back and see the whole journey, all the missteps and successes and see it all.

Maybe what having Aspergers has taught me so far is that life is a puzzle. There will be things that don't make sense now, but maybe in time.

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