A poetic reflection written for my wife (who loves Ravensburger puzzles) on the celebration of our 9th wedding anniversary.
If marriage was a Ravensburger puzzle…
You’d start with an image that shows you exactly how your relationship will look in the end.
There would be no mystery, no deviation from the plan, no surprise at the end that it didn’t quite end up looking like the picture you imagined at the start.
As you worked to put it together, every piece would have its assigned place and with just a little time it would all eventually fit together perfectly, with each piece being placed down with an effortless and satisfying snap.
There would be no left overs, no pieces left to the side, nothing to be thrown away or sacrificed or accepted as simply just not meant to be.
Whenever you came across two pieces that didn’t fit, there would be no conflict, no effort to make them work together, no change or compromise required. You’d just put it aside knowing that it would perfectly fit somewhere else in the puzzle.
And in the end, the perfect picture you created would look just like you expected and portray some beautiful photoshopped mountain landscape or a cute litter of puppies or a plate of immaculately decorated cupcakes.
And before you packed it all away, you would gaze upon your accomplishment with a sigh of perfect satisfaction.
If marriage was a Ravensburger puzzle.
But marriage is not a Ravensburger puzzle…
There is indeed a beautiful perfect picture of marriage that together you are trying to create – The marriage between Christ and His Church.
But your puzzle pieces come from two different boxes and with that comes two different pictures on the cover that you each imagine you will be creating.
You jumble all the pieces together and try to sort them out.
Of course one of you likes sorting by colour and the other by shape. One likes to work on the images in the middle and the other likes to find the edges first.
And the pieces don’t exactly fit. They’re not cut with precision. Some are big and some are small and some are cracked and some are missing and some have even lost their sticker.
They take compromise, sacrifice, creativity, problem-solving, laughter, tears, communication, prayer, mercy and forgiveness.
Some pieces need to be shoved together. Some need to be cut to fit. Some need to be thrown away. And some, you’ll simply never find a place for, even though they look perfectly fine.
And now and then a couple of pieces will fit with that perfect Ravensburger snap, and it will be easy and effortless and leave you with a satisfying sigh. Enjoy those pieces.
But in the end the puzzle will be a mess.
A big beautiful 1,673.5 piece mess of a puzzle that will wonderfully display the ideal image on the box of Christ and the Church, not by its perfect symmatry, but by the love and sacrifice and joyful faithfulness by which it was put together.
So why not say a prayer right now? If you’re not sure, I’ll show you how.
See, when I talk to God each day, there are four things I like to say:
Wow God. Thank you. Sorry. Please.
I pray about each one of these…
Wow God, you’re loving! Wow God, you’re great!
God! All things you did create!
made the sun, the worm, the cow,
So first of all I just say “Wow!”
I thank you God for all you give.
thank you for the life I live.
thank you most for Jesus who
Did die for me. Dear God, thank you.
sorry God when I’m not good,
I don’t love you as I should.
Jesus’ death forgive my sin
And help me love and live like Him.
lastly God I ask you please
all of my daily needs.
help me grow to trust in you
And help all those who need you too.
now I’ve prayed all four of these.
every prayer I end the same:
I pray these things in Jesus’ name.
(This poem will be, Lord willing, the heart of the new children’s book I am working on. Along with this poem being illustrated into a fun little story, it will also include tips for parents about how to pray with their young children and pages that will be useful for going through this model of prayer with your child.)
Waking up at 5:45
To the whimpers of your 3 year old
Crackling through the baby monitor
Finding your slippers in the dark
Because you forgot to plug in your phone
So now you have no light to guide you
Shuffling through the cold house
Sneaking into her room
Trying not to wake her
Seeing that her kid feet
Are tangled in her sheets
And her bunny is out of her reach
You peel back her doona
Untangle her feet
The brief moment of cold
Causing her to stir
You quickly tuck her in snug as a bug
And place her lost bunny
Into her empty arms
She hugs it close
Snuggles into her doona
And in the dark you hear
The sweetest sound
“Thank you daddy”
You shuffle back through the cold house
With those three words warming you
Better than slippers ever could
Betty Botter is a tongue-twister written by Carolyn Wells. It was originally titled “The Butter Betty Bought.” By the middle of the 20th century, it had become part of the Mother Goose collection of nursery rhymes.
I used to be into tongue-twisters as a kid and my favourite was “Betty Botter”. The version I committed to memory was:
Betty Botter bought some butter. “But”, she said, “This butter’s bitter. If I put it in my batter, it’ll make my batter bitter. But if I buy a better butter, it’ll make my batter better.” So Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter and that made her batter better.
A nice tongue-twister, but not very exciting. She has a problem with some butter and she just goes out and buys a replacement.
Well, I thought I might be able to expand the Betty Botter story a little bit. Here is what I came up with…
Betty Botter’s Batter My expanded version of a classic tongue-twister
Betty Botter bought some butter, “But”, she said, “This butter’s bitter. If I put it in my batter, it’ll make my batter bitter. But if I buy a better butter, it’ll make my batter better…
But Betty’s brother Buddy Botter said, “Why not try adding water?”
So Betty Botter blended bitter butter with a bit of water that her brother Buddy brought her. But no matter how much water, the bitter batter wasn’t better. All it was was a bit wetter.
“Wet and bitter batter isn’t better!” Betty barked, but before her brother said rebuttal, Betty’s mother butted in. “I’m sure it could be a bit better. Why not add bit of feta? Salt’ll balance out the bitter, and absorb a bit of water.”
Then Betty’s father Mr Botter contributed to the banter.
“Back when I was but a boy, my best friend Billy’s neighbour’s, barber’s brother was a brilliant baker. He always bragged he blended better with the best electric beater. Your broken, busted baby beater is why your batter isn’t better.”
Though it sounds bonkers, Betty Botter couldn’t let this batter beat her. So Betty, bartered, begged and bought a brand new, bright blue, Breville beater! Then with the best electric beater she beat the batter mixed with feta, blending water Buddy brought her in with bits of bitter butter.
And in the end this beaten blend of wetter, bitter, feta batter, was just plain bad and Betty muttered “I shoulda bought a better butter.”
Her brother Buddy smiled and bade her, “Come on Betty, don’t be bitter. Sure we botched a basic batter, but we’re blessed with something better… You see, what matters is not batters, but bonding with our fellow Botters.”