Today I decided to put together a puzzle, one that contained the image of a beautiful cream Pomeranian (my favorite type of dog-I have two.) For some reason I have held on to this puzzle for many years and have never put forth the effort to put it together. Today was the day I finally made the attempt. I took this puzzle to work with me and cleared a spot on my office desk, thinking this would be something I could do during my break times. I slowly opened the box so as not to spill its contents on the floor, and then began the separation of edge pieces from the middle, also taking the time to pull out the orange pieces and set them aside. Orange would be my first color.
I spent endless moments putting together the edge pieces, often finding the pieces in the wrong place, not fitting together correctly, or actually having extra pieces of edging when I was done and wondering to myself “How did that happen?” The desk was not big enough to hold the puzzle and I had to fold away pictures of my beloved family which I keep displayed proudly. Finally, I manage to get the edge put together and then I just stare at it. Moments pass by as the orange pieces just sit there over to my right side, eagerly awaiting to find their home within the rectangle. In this moment I decided to put the puzzle back into its box. It had already became too hard, and my faith to make all the pieces fit the way they were intended started to seem minimal at best.
Many thoughts crossed my mind as I put this puzzle away, comparing it to my own life. Tragedy had struck our family a couple of weeks ago and I found myself in the midst of heartbreak as I stood in the middle of two people I loved, being asked to choose a side. I cried many tears, could not eat, and sleep was just never going to happen unless I could turn off that switch that we call overthinking. I thought about all the other puzzles in my life. How many times did I finish them? How many times did I just put them back in the box and call it done? Some were harder than others. Some I put in every possible effort, only to find in the end that the pieces would never form a complete image no matter how hard I tried. Some were the wrong pieces, some were damaged, and some were just missing. My life has been a metaphor of unfinished puzzles.
I have had to make some very tough decisions in the last couple of weeks that many will not understand. But often in life we are given a puzzle we do not even want, and try to make the best of it. Or we do everything we possibly can to finish the puzzle we have been handed, only for others to constantly tell us it is not worth the effort-just throw it away. I made a decision that this last puzzle (not the Pomeranian one) would be finished, I was not going to throw this one away just as everyone else in my life had suggested. This puzzle, I had to complete, for my own sanity if nothing else. Now after it is complete, who knows what life will bring. It could bring a new puzzle or maybe, just maybe…this could be the one we hang on the wall (just like grandma use to do-throw some glue over top, put it in a frame and call it good.)
The thing is, we are all putting together our own puzzle. Some have easier ones than others do, and some will never understand the hard puzzle you were given because they have never had to hold that many pieces. You have to go into it with the determination that you are going to give it your best shot. Too many times I have thrown out a puzzle before I was even sure if it was ruined or not. There have also been times when I knew the puzzle was ruined, but I could look at it and see the slightest image of a good thing deep under the layers of ruin, and I decided to do what I could to restore it-even if I had to do it alone.