I grew up putting together jigsaw puzzles with my family. Typically, the pieces were put out on this special table my mom had refinished and we would work on them as a family during the winter months. It was something we were required to do to create family time in the evenings and on the weekends. We would be allowed to go do our own thing after spending at least an hour working on it with everyone else. If we wanted to continue doing it after that, we could. We sometimes were given tasks to sort the pieces by color, get them all right side up, put corners & edges together, etc. We didn't always have discussions when we worked on them, but sometimes we did. My dad rarely talked. He always had headaches, was always irritated and frustrated. My mom would either be very chatty or she was angry or she was feeling sick.
In thinking about putting puzzles together, and I had these thoughts: Sometimes you don't understand what the picture is supposed to look like until you get all the pieces together. Sometimes it takes longer to put together then you originally thought it would to assemble. Sometimes you spend time looking for the right piece and you can't find it, no matter how hard you look. Sometimes you have to realize you have spent enough time searching for the puzzle piece and you just have to walk away and give your eyes a break so you can come back later and make more progress on it. Sometimes the puzzle is harder then another one you have done because so many of the pieces look exactly alike. Sometimes you pick out a piece and are sure it is just the right one and will fit perfectly only to find out that it is totally off. Sometimes you end up with a missing piece to the puzzle and you can't complete it. Sometimes the puzzle just doesn't seem fun to put together, it seems to be taking a lot of work and this wasn't what you had in mind. Sometimes you zone out as you are putting the puzzle together and you wonder how long you were sitting there looking at that piece and it isn't even the right one. Sometimes once you get the puzzle all put together, you see the bigger picture, the beauty in all the pieces and can experience the feeling of a job well done.
I think life is like a jigsaw puzzle.
Sometimes life just doesn't make sense and you get to the next chapter and start seeing all the chapters come together. Sometimes situations takes longer resolve then you originally thought they would. Sometimes you spend time looking for the answers and trying to get help, and no matter how hard you look you can't seem to figure stuff out. Sometimes you just have to walk away and give things a rest so you can come back and have renewed energy to do the work. Sometimes it seems like the harder you try to figure out the truth and what is a lie, the more it all just looks like a big mess. Sometimes you make a decision thinking it will be the best one, and find out later that it created more problems then it helped. Sometimes things just go missing and you never find what you need. Sometimes life doesn't seem fun, and in fact it is just a bunch of grind, day in and day out. Sometimes you stare out the window, lost in thought, or you are sitting at a stop light, starring into the sun and someone behind you honks because it was way past time you got yourself moving. Sometimes once you get past a few chapters, you see the bigger picture and the beauty in all the challenges and trials you have faced, how strong you were to make it through them and just really what a beautiful life you have.
Yes, sometimes life is like a jigsaw puzzle. But we have a choice in how we look at the process of putting a jigsaw puzzle together just like we get to enjoy the journey of life. Sometimes it simply comes to shifting our focus and choosing something different in that moment that gives us the energy to get through the situation.
How will you apply the strategy of a jigsaw puzzle to your life today? What lessons do you feel a jigsaw puzzle has for you?
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