The draw of a puzzle…

When was the last time you worked on a puzzle?  Perhaps you’ve helped a child with a puzzle of maybes 25 large pieces, or even an older child with perhaps 100 pieces.  Maybe you had recently begun one with the intention of completing, yet life happened, and you might have needed table space, and it got put away for another day.  Perhaps it’s been many years since the time or even desire was there!  Well, my adventurous husband pulled one out New Year’s Eve night, and when I say pulled out, I mean blow-the-dust-off-the-box-pulled out.  We’ve moved this puzzle at these 4 times over the past 13 years of marriage, and I can’t recall once ever completing it.  Well… after the holiday festivities, our dining room table was bare.  And, with no immediate need of use until the next holiday, the space was available.  This puzzle has 1,000 pieces.  Coming from a mother who is used to child-sized pieces, these are small.  They are all the same shape, or so they appear.  They each hold a visual picture, yet strewn across a table they might has well have been a million, none of which fit together.

So, in order to start, one must have a strategy, right?  Border first (at least that was the unwritten rule in my family growing up).  Let’s just say we, as a family, worked diligently, and I believe we at least completed that before the ball dropped.  Our patience wore, and we decided to leave it up, just in case we felt like working on it another day.  The strangest thing happened… it was like a magnet for me.  At the end of the evening, I found myself thinking… well, maybe I’ll just put in one more piece… and an hour later, I looked back and had fully completed a section.  Of course, at seeing progress, it just enhanced the desire for more.  I’d run out of time, and need to walk away.  When returning, I found myself “seeing” things on the pieces I missed before.  My eyes would scan for similar textures, or a little tip of yellow to complete a flower.  That hunt would lead to the discovery of another similarity.  Slowly, but surely, one piece at a time, these seemingly insignificant pieces of color, together, formed a picture that came to life.  (I couldn’t even cheat and look at the box cover because the picture was so small and incomplete!)  So… 10 days later, it was completed (minute one piece a little dog-chewed and one lost in oblivion somewhere).

This puzzle mimics life in so many ways.  How many times along my journey in life have I been overwhelmed at the 1,000 pieces, that I’ve drained myself of the energy to just complete one more?  How many times have the small pieces of life seemed too insignificant?  How frustrated have a felt that I couldn’t see how the little pieces would fit together to even make a large picture, and what did that look like?  How many times have I missed out on the fun of accomplishing just one small section at a time, enjoying the moments?  How often have I gotten stuck over searching for one missing piece that I wasted an opportunity to move to another “section” and experience sucess?  How often had I walked away, only to return to a much clearly and fresher perspective?  “Oh, there is is, right in front of my eyes!”  It may sound silly, but it was so enjoyable to complete.  To stand back and now “see” the full revelation of those 1,000 perfectly interlocking pieces – each one unique, each one having a purpose – it’s led to me one thought.  I wanna do that again!  Will it be frustrating again?  Probably.  Will it take me a long time to complete?  Most definitely.  Does it really matter if I never do another puzzle again?  Not really, definitely not in the big scheme of life.  But do I want to, is it great to unwind, does it even give me perspective?  Yep, so, impossible hershey kiss puzzle, here I come!

What do you enjoy doing to unwind?


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