Do you like puzzles?
My mom loves working crossword puzzles but I prefer the word search puzzles. Each to their own, right? I think you either love puzzles or you don’t but there is one puzzle that all of us are stuck with – and that is the puzzle of life!
Personally, I love working jigsaw puzzles it brings back so many precious memories as a child the family gathered around the dining room table working together to create a masterpiece of some random picture on the outside of a box. It is still a tradition we look forward to each holiday as we are gathered together. The goal is to finish before it is time for everyone to go back home. It also seems one person always holds out on hiding that last piece so they can be the one to place it in the last remaining blank space. Just a few months ago I found the one piece while cleaning out the china cabinet, one year we never found the final piece, I blamed the manufacturer for possibly not including it in the packaging just to mess with us but now I guess I am left to wonder who is the guilty party in my family that placed it in a dish way in the top of the china cabinet…hmmm?
Just for a minute let’s go back to the puzzle of life. Life is made up of lots of different pieces, I have poured myself another cup of scrumptious Earl Grey tea and encourage you to do the same as we dive into this subject matter for this week. Our identity, family, jobs, hobbies, friends, education, church, community, etc. – we are all trying to figure out how these pieces are supposed to fit together and what they really mean to us as we live our everyday life.
It is so important in working your puzzle to build a great foundation. In the beginning there are so many pieces, it can be hard to figure out where to start. For the planners in this world, they start by connecting all the straight line pieces together and things are real smooth linking the outside frame of the picture, yet in reality when the frame is done what happens when they try piecing the jagged edges together and things don’t go according to plan? Maybe they sort all the pieces by color? The little twists and turns can sometimes rock our world. That is when I need to step back analyze the shade or color I am looking for and for me personally I may even have to change my position as to where I am sitting at the table. Can you relate to what I am saying?
As I begin working on a particular section, things begin to come together until there is one little gaping hole within that section I can’t seem to find. I search and search and that piece is nowhere, it becomes so frustrating. I begin to obsess over that one little piece, I begin to shuffle the pieces around on the table. Come on, it has got to be here somewhere. Then when I pretty much am about to give up, the piece seems to reveal itself. But why did I work so hard to find that single piece? Why did I let it cause frustration? If I had just been patient the piece was there all along yet I caused it to rob me of so much negative energy and this could have been avoided had I chose a different feeling or attitude.
This could very well be an issue in my life, perhaps something happens at work or at home and I begin to obsess over a particular issue. I let it consume my entire day or week, yet why? If I would just move on and work on another area or my life or project at work, things usually will work itself out and I eventually will find the answer or resolution to the problem in due time.
Realistically in working a jigsaw puzzle it really takes time to put it together. There is no short cuts, it simply is one piece at a time, and it is always a work in progress right up to the last piece. We must take One Day at a Time…every step of the way we seem to be making progress. Sometimes a piece just falls into place perfectly and effortlessly while other times we have to search and try many pieces before we find just the right one. I also notice sometimes I am working the puzzle all by myself, time passes and I try many pieces but I find it most rewarding when other family members gather round to assist in the effort. I would call this teamwork. The puzzle takes on new energy and things seem to come together more quickly. There is no competition everyone feels satisfied when a few more pieces are joined together. It is almost like a unique bonding experience. People are giving high fives, winking or smiling as we continue to work on the masterpiece together.
After many days and what seems like eternity the pieces start falling into place and at the end rather rapidly. Even the most difficult pieces seem to be quite simple at the end. I have found that to be the case in many life projects as well. It’s a lot of planning and hard work in the beginning but at the end of the project things seem to fall into place quite effortlessly.
But let’s look at that from a slightly different perspective. What about that missing piece I talked about in the beginning. Should I look at an entire project as a failure simply because one piece is missing? Does that imply that the rest of the exercise was a waste of time? Is the part where your family jumped in to help nothing but a distant memory? Have the feelings that went with those other satisfying moments simply swept away by the final disappointment? Or was the journey itself something that should be remembered and embraced even more than the final outcome? In the bible it state in Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on you own understanding.” We often work so hard to manipulate our circumstances only to see what we worked toward slowly unravel. We want things to work out logically and in a specific order according to our plans. However, this verse tells us that our logic is not the same as God’s. God’s understanding is superior to ours because he knows all scenarios and see the big picture. Our understanding can be very limited where God knows the complete story.
As you are “Takin Time Out” this week what piece of the puzzle is missing from your life. What about the piece that is a bit more adventurous, do you need more laughter, or spend more time with family and friends? Let’s work on finding that piece and placing it in our puzzle of life to help us feel more complete…until next time my friends let’s enjoy life one puzzle piece at a time…