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Puzzle Pieces

Puzzle Pieces

I used to love the feeling of sea sand scrubbing my wet feet. As the small, bright-coloured fish darted around my legs, I felt freedom. Slowly, I would dig my toes into the sand searching for treasure. The treasure I often found, however, was not shells and seaweed. No, my treasure was peace and hope. My Sunday visits to the ocean used to transform me. The murmuring waves entranced me as my anxiety transformed into faith.

With golden sunlight touching the waves, I thanked God. Lifting my head to the sky I humbly gave my Father praise. “Thank You Lord, that I may follow my dreams. Thank You for blessing me with many opportunities,” I breathed up at the sky. Life was a masterpiece. Yes, some puzzle pieces may not yet be added to the final picture and others were broken, but life was beautiful. I was living my dream, studying dance in the land of milk and honey: The magnificent Cape Town…And yet, the puzzle of life sometimes turns into a sadistic image of a wrathful ocean and a wailing girl where once stood a cheerful student.

“Hurry up, hurry up,” I called out to my friends as we headed to a house party in Stellenbosch. “Welcome, beautiful ladies,” smiled Jacob, handing out glasses of champagne. As the bubbles whizzed down my throat, I sensed the joy bouncing around the corners of his home. The music roared in our ears and laughter tickled my stomach. Our legs melted as we danced into freedom.
But a house party would of course not be a party without alcohol and drugs. Everyone was overcome with euphoria; emotions were heightened, and life became a vivid dream. We partied the night away until the desire to sleep dragged our feet to the doorstep. “Goodnight besties,” rolled over my tongue as I greeted everyone.

My perfect puzzle soon started to fade. I swung open David’s car door and sailed away into thought as we drove home. Loud music faded away as I dozed into an unfocused sleep… The dark safety belt rested beside me begging to hug me tightly, but I was past thinking. And my puzzle shattered as the car crashed.

Pain screeched through my legs, yet screams refused to escape my throat and bees buzzed in my ears. I tried to move. In vain. Darkness swooshed over me.My mind faded in and out of consciousness. I felt safe in the darkness, because the unknown was more peaceful than the dreadful truth I was about to face: A tall, tight-lipped doctor approached me, whilst his sharp, insensitive words hammered nails into my heart: You will never be able to walk…

God left my side. Slowly, my thoughts spiralled out of control into a tornado: How come my good Father allows my future to wither and die as He starves me from my passion? The doctor’s words must have been a lie, because the God I knew won’t let me suffer in that horrifying pain. But then I was plucked back to reality, because the dreadful truth was that I could never dance again.
My days went by slowly. Eating was an insignificant act and sleeping was my only passion. My mother encouraged me to go shopping with her. “I will push the wheelchair for you and we can go anywhere you want to,” she said. But her words merely slid through my ears into thin air. Sickening sadness simply continued to feast on my fragile soul.

Until one day a glimpse of sunlight shone through my window and I heard the ocean roaring. It was calling me.
This time I could not feel the grainy sand crawling like ants through my toes. I could not arise and dance to the beat of the waves and I found no treasure buried beneath the sand. I was all alone. Trapped in a world abandoned by God.
“The ocean is magnificent, isn’t it?” said a woman next to me. She shocked me with her sudden appearance and awkward speech. Her hair was thin and grey. She also sat in a wheelchair, but joy flooded from her smile. I simply nodded my head. “How does it sound?” she asked. “I always wondered how the ocean sounds. I believe it to be a heavenly sound.” Goosebumps ran across my arms as the sadness drained from my body. She could not hear nor walk, but yet she smiled.

I turned my head, staring at the powerful waves dappled by sunlight penetrating through the cloud. As nature’s magnificent melodies drifted through my ears, a thought was growing in me: God will never forsake me.

He has given me a puzzle with pieces I need to fit together. Mistakes have turned my puzzle into a nightmare. My mistakes were taking part in irresponsible, unsafe and reckless behaviour. But I know, I know with everything in me that God is in control of this puzzle. And as I stare at the old lady’s smile, I know that God will forgive my mistakes and with my confusing puzzle He will create a work of outstanding artistry.


Sareez Basson

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