A couple weeks ago Brenda started working on a puzzle. She loves the challenge of finding all the flat pieces, forming the frame, gathering all the same colored and patterned pieces, and then fitting the 750 unique pieces into a cohesive beautiful whole. I, on the other hand, can work on a puzzle for five or ten minutes and find my self thinking I would rather have a root canal without Novocaine! I do enjoy the banter with everyone gathered around the table, the excitement of finding a piece no one could, and the victory of putting the last piece in. If you have a few minutes I would love to have you stop in and help us finish our puzzle.
Last week I was helping Brenda try and find a piece to complete the blue vase. We looked and looked and just couldn’t find it. Out of frustration we both got up and switched places which changed our perspective. Almost immediately we found the piece. It was right there in front of our faces. We just needed to look at the puzzle and all the pieces from a different perspective. This of course is a lesson that can be applied to many different areas of life.
Often in our role as David’s caregiver we applied the power of intentionally changing our perspective. We often found ourselves paralyzed from exhaustion, fear, work demands, and the challenges of raising our two other boys. Without deliberately doing something to change our perspective, we would spiral into despair.
I remember one day sitting at a high school football game with David. All around us were teens laughing and joking and enjoying each other. Out on the field were healthy young men playing football, girls with pompoms cheering the team on, and my son was stuck next to his old man due to his blindness and disease. I was miserable. I felt sorry for my son. I was a little angry at God. And then I looked over at David. He was laughing, cheering, and filled with joy. He was having a great time. As I looked through the lens of my own personal loss of all the things I had hoped for David, I was overwhelmed and sad. I made a decision to change my perspective. I thanked God that David was enjoying himself. I looked at David and realized that despite the fact he would never play football, he was a unique and beautiful masterpiece. I reminded myself there was nothing more important than sitting next to my son cheering the Hornets on to their next victory. And guess what? I started to enjoy myself.
Here are a few things we learned that may be helpful if you are finding it hard to change your perspective.
- Learn to be content with small victories. Do you remember the joy of finding the one piece of the puzzle no one else could find? Everyone is looking and looking and all of sudden someone shouts, “Here it is!” One piece found of a 750 piece puzzle and there are high fives all around the table. The more we learn to celebrate small victories, the more you find joy in both the small and big and the difficult.
- Don’t do it alone. I have observed that the more people who are gathered around the puzzle table, the longer they work on it together. We were crated to be in community with others. Who are you connected to? Is there a church or synagogue that you could connect or reconnect to? There are support groups and Facebook groups that are filled with people just like you. Maybe its time to sign up for your next weekend with David’s Refuge.
- Recognize the unique masterpiece your child is. Your child is an amazing beautiful human being that reflects the very image of God to the world around them. They are as unique as each piece of the puzzle, no one just like them. They are unique and fearfully and wonderfully made.
- Serve someone else. It doesn’t have to be something big; a phone call, a short note, a cup of coffee shared with someone will remind them they are not alone and are loved. When you practice these things it is like turning the light on over your puzzle. It changes the way you look at your own situation.