“Ho! All who thirst, go to water, and whoever has no money, go, buy and eat!” – Isaiah 55:1
Sonya moved into an assisted living “home.” It cost a lot per day, more than she had. She had worked as a secretary and used to meet her bills by simple living.
Because she was new to the “home,” Sonja didn’t know what all the rules were. She enjoyed building puzzles, but day after day, someone told her she couldn’t use this or that table for her puzzle.
After several polite but effective scuttles with the administration, she found the table on which puzzling was permitted. She built large many-worded puzzles on the table most afternoons and usually finished one a week. When she was done, she wanted to keep the puzzle up till morning, so she could show it off to her one good friend she had just made. On Saturday mornings, week after week, one of the pieces was missing from the completed puzzle. When she tried to show it to her friend, she was embarrassed, as though she hadn’t done a good job herself, as though, additionally, not being able to afford the “home” was her fault.
On Sunday mornings the puzzle piece would be returned. There was a trickster, trying to connect to her about what was missing for them as well.
I couldn’t get the story out of my head. What is missing? For people like Sonja and sometimes me, it is the place of money in our world and in our hearts. There is no peace or economic security. Imagine that. In the richest country in the world. And we blame ourselves for not having enough money.
O God, at least free us from the blame. Show us the missing piece of the puzzle. Amen.
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her most recent book is I Heart Frances: Letters to the Pope from an Unlikely Admirer.