It would be a lot easier were I working with bricks instead of stone. Bricks are uniform in shape so they can be laid evenly in rows. Get the base even and generally smooth, and it's clear sailing. If I had a pile of bricks, I'd have been done last week. Instead, I have had to harvest my raw material from the creek, then figure out how to put the puzzle together. That's about what it is: a jigsaw puzzle where the pieces can fit in a number of different places. The stones are of different thicknesses, so the bed can only be prepared one stone at a time. I have to figure out what looks and works best at any given spot, but it's not exact. I like brick, but stone fits our house better. The sidewalk looks good, but bricks would definitely have been easier. And last longer. The stone is shale, and I can count on it that sooner or later various stones will start flaking and need to be replaced.
Life is often like my stone sidewalk. It's not predictable like the brick. It doesn't come to us in neat rows, one size fits everywhere. Instead, we have to size up our situation, consider the options, and pick the action that fits best where we are at the moment. Sometimes we discover that the pattern we were working on doesn't look right, so we have to go back and rearrange parts so everything fits. And life needs constant attention. Unlike the bricks which once laid rarely need attention, life imitates the stones that occasionally need to be refit or replaced. But the patterns are more interesting, and we need to constantly pay closer attention to the overall goal, praying constantly for wisdom and grace for the times nothing seems to be working right. I am thankful tonight for having had to lay a new stone sidewalk and a brick entryway, learning in the process a few things about life. That's always a win!