Have you ever put a puzzle together and been frustrated by a piece that you’re positive belongs right there? I’ve watched people including myself push, prod, and finally destroy puzzle pieces because they’re determined to make them fit. If they’d just take one second to step back and look at the big picture, they would realize that what they thought was right was in fact incomplete.
Sometimes we all do this with aspects of our lives: become so fixed on this person, or this job, or this salary, insist it goes right there, and fail to see the big picture for what it really is. Eric Butterworth says “Our job is not to set things right but to see them right.” Seeing things right is what prayer helps us do. Prayer is that moment when we sit back, stop forcing puzzle pieces into place, and look at the big picture.
In the puzzle that was Rev. Jennifer’s life and the life we shared in community with her, there were puzzle pieces that didn’t seem to fit. No one wants a puzzle piece of cancer, and for some it’s hard to accept the puzzle piece of holistic medicine and not more conventional treatments. For others of us, the puzzle piece of her departure looks like abandonment puzzle pieces we’ve already hidden away from long ago. Maybe we’ve already shoved so many other puzzle pieces into place that accept the pieces that Rev. Jennifer brought to our table could disrupt our entire sense of the picture we’re all looking at together.
At times like this, prayer reminds us that the big picture is far greater than any single puzzle piece. Prayer changes us, and helps us see the world for what it is rather than , as what we want it to be. In the big picture, Reverend Jennifer’s last several months gave us all many gifts. It drew our community closer together, and gave us an opportunity to share strength and support with a beloved friend who had encouraged and supported each of us. It gave us the chance to support Rev. Jennifer’s healing and wholeness journey. And it helped us to remember the differences between healing and physical cures.
Our prayers didn’t fail. They helped us place all of our community’s puzzle pieces exactly where they needed to be. In this next phase of her existence, I am positive that Reverend Jennifer is quietly encouraging us to see the puzzle pieces of our lives and “see them right.”
The night that I learned of Jennifer’s transition, my mother shared this quote from Thorton Wilder: “The greatest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude.” This is my prayer for all of us at Unity of Gaithersburg. May we, after taking the time we need to grieve, step back and see the big picture: We have so much to be grateful for because Reverend Jennifer was here with us.