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The other day I said to a good friend, “You’re perfect. It’s just integrating the pieces.”

I remember once reading the theologian John Calvin and he said that the Fall represented the disintegration of the person. Unfortunately, he grimly believed the disintegrated parts were sin to be trashed. But, I thought, “Why don’t we see ourselves as a puzzle, not broken pieces? Then our work is not to rid ourselves of sin, but integrating the many fascinating pieces of ourselves in a functional way.”

Sometimes I feel like I’m a puzzle of thousands of pieces and that my life’s work is to gently, compassionately and wisely integrate these all together in a beautifully balanced harmony.

I think this is true.

I went through my reformed theology stage where I believed we are all sinners to the core. Then I went through my positive thinking stage where I believed we are all good at the core. Now I’ve come to a place where I believe we are a mixture of good and evil and that it is up to us which to manifest. Like “The Lucifer Effect” revealed, people we consider good who find themselves in evil situations can do shockingly bad things. But people we consider bad who find themselves in good situations can do remarkably good things.

Remember the end of “The Last Samurai”? During the movie the Chief Samurai reveals he has spent his whole life looking for the perfect cherry blossom. In the last scene as he lies dying on the battlefield, cherry blossoms drift across the scene. He looks up at them and says, “They are all beautiful!”

One of the parables that was a huge lesson for me was when people are standing before the Lord on the last day. They aren’t judged for what they did or didn’t believe, but for what they did or didn’t do.

It made me realize that as conflicted as I might be inside, as hot as the battle might get between the lesser and greater angles of my nature, it doesn’t mean I’m necessarily evil or necessarily good, but responsible. I’m free to do what good I can in the world.

My brokenness is not a curse, a tragic mess that needs fixing. Rather, it is a puzzle I have the pleasure of assembling over my whole lifetime until I finally portray the full picture.

“There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.” (Leonard Cohen)

We are all beautiful.