When turmoil hits I often think of that proverbial puzzle. You know, the one we liken our lives to once we have it all figured out, once all the pieces fit together leaving us with a picturesque view of the ocean or a snow laden mountain top. So what happens when life happens? When our life is blown into smithereens right before our very eyes? Our once perfect picture is stained and unrecognizable. We don’t know where to begin. We try frantically to create a new picture. To find new pieces to fit together to give us the same sense of security and hope we once felt. We see the pieces that once were and we shutter. They are ugly. They are painful. They are grotesque. They are dark. They are hopeless. They offer nothing to us. Except the painful reminder that life will never be the same. No, those pieces will never be what they once were. So we begin to move through the rubble of our lives and attempt to re create. To reinvent. To reestablish. But can we? Can we actually piece back together something that is irrevocably damaged? Can we recreate it to be exactly what it once was? No. Our lives will never be the same. We will never be the same. So what do we do? We start over. We take a step back and survey the wreckage before us. The shattered remains. We realize that the puzzle will never again look as charming and delightful as it once did. We begin working. We begrudgingly grab the remains and wonder to ourselves how pieces so small and so ugly could actually create something worthwhile. Something whole. As we move and work we notice that the puzzle we are creating is coming together. Piece by piece we are creating something new. Something abstract. Something different than we have ever known or seen before. We step back and admire our work. And that is when we get it. We understand. We acknowledge that our work was created from the rubble. And it is with this recognition that we see. We see our new reality. And we are full of gratitude. Why? Because we know that our beautiful, abstract puzzle is whole. And we have an even deeper knowing that our ruin and destruction is what created this beautiful masterpiece. We understand that if our life had never crumbled beneath us we would not have been able to create such a piece of art. I think that is the answer to life’s biggest puzzle. Finding beauty in the ashes. Choosing to see that the heartache we endured was meant for our highest good. Choosing each day to wake up and to continue trusting and having faith. Understanding that life was never meant to stay the same. Change is bound to come. Some change gently arrives and then other times, it violently crashes into us swallowing us whole into the waves of grief and loss. During tumultuous moments we need to remember that they are just that. Moments. Sure they can last years, but when the shift happens and our hearts have expanded we will sit down with a cup of coffee and take a deep breath. And with that out breath comes the acknowledgment that we survived. We made it. We are renewed. We are whole. We are changed. We are grateful. And we laugh. A hearty, full laugh. Why? Because we had the audacity to question our strength.