At the start of the Lockdown, in March 2020, I was absolutely thrilled when I realised I had a couple of my mother’s beloved jigsaws stored away in my garage. (And how appropriate is this first one?)

For those of you who remember the ‘Readers Digest Condensed books’ I’m going to attempt to do the same here….

One of my most treasured books is, ‘Kitchen Table Wisdom’, by Rachel Naomi Remen.

One of the many stories she relates in this amazing book tells about how, during her childhood, there was always a jigsaw on the go for all the family to participate in completing.

When she was three or four years old nobody had thought to explain the process of how the jigsaw was completed and so, when she climbed up to look at the pieces, she found some pieces she ‘loved’, due to their bright colours, and some that ‘frightened’ her, due to their colour or shape.

As the days went by she would quietly hide these ‘frightening’ pieces under a cushion on the sofa.

The weeks progressed, and it became obvious that it was going to be impossible to complete the puzzle. Frustrated, her mother eventually counted the pieces and realised there were more than a hundred missing.

She asked Rachel if she had seen them and Rachel then explained where they were.

As piece by piece was placed into the puzzle the picture emerged and she was astounded. It was a beautiful scene of a deserted beach. Without the missing pieces the scene had made no sense.

Rachel reflects… “Perhaps winning requires that we love the game unconditionally. Life provides all the pieces. When I accepted certain parts of life and denied and ignored the rest, I could only see my life a piece at a time – the happiness of success or a time of celebration, or the ugliness and pain of a loss or failure I was trying to put behind me, out of sight. But, like the dark pieces of the puzzle, these sadder events, painful as they are, have proven to be a part of something larger.  What glimpses I have had of something hidden seem to require accepting as a gift, every last piece.

We are always putting the pieces together without knowing the picture ahead of time.”

How many times should we remind ourself of this very special story?