Now that the weather has gotten colder and my outdoor activities are becoming fewer and fewer, I’ve pulled out the many boxes of jigsaw puzzles I’ve amassed over the years. What a gift they’ve been during this time of quarantine. I had forgotten how much I love doing them!
Recently I discovered that I’m a dissectologist — that’s the name for jigsaw puzzle enthusiasts like me. I’m now on my fifth 1,000-piece puzzle since early November. Alleluia! I can already tell that my cooped-up-by-COVID-anxiety has lessened. As a bonus, I like to think that I’m sharpening my brain by improving my cognition, short-term memory, and problem-solving skills.
In case you haven’t noticed from reading any of my previous blogs, I’m the kind of gal who can make an analogy from just about anything and then relate it to life. Some people see things in black and white while I like to color my world with connections and comparisons. Jigsaw puzzles are a great example of this.
Don’t Let Life Frustrate You
Life can be frustrating, overwhelming, confusing, difficult, exasperating, sad, delightful, exciting, fulfilling, and a mix of everything in between. The saying “buckle in and get ready for the ride of your life” couldn’t be more true. But our life doesn’t need to leave us with whiplash or us ready to throw in the towel. When we realize that our life is made up of a series of events, meetings, experiences, and choices and that things truly do work out in the end, we’ll be able to navigate our life and be ready for anything.
Before you get the notion that I believe that each of our lives is one big Que Sera Sera song, let me make it clear that I believe that life doesn’t unfold by happenstance. When we make choices, assume responsibility, step out of our comfort zone, and follow our passions and gifts we steer our life in the directions we want it to take.
Back to my jigsaw puzzle analogy…
The Easy-Peasy Puzzle Pieces
I’ve got a 1-2-3 method when I put a jigsaw puzzle together. Here’s what I do:
- Find the straight edge pieces
- Find the corner pieces
- Group the pieces with similar colors or patterns together.
Once these pieces are collected my puzzle seems to come together at a slow and steady pace. Here’s where the “life is like a jigsaw puzzle” analogy gets very evident to me.
I believe that:
The corner pieces are anchors that secure the “frame” and internal pieces of the puzzle together. Corner pieces are the instrumental people in our life who “hold” us together. For me, they are my spiritual mentor, my best friend, my husband, and my children (they’re grouped together as one).
The straight edge pieces are the people we’ve met along the way who have surrounded us with support, love, acceptance, grace, and acknowledge our value. They’re the people who told us that they believe in us, the person who welcomed us into their group, the person who told us that we mean something to them.
The similar colored/patterned pieces are those things about me that make me who I am. They are my personality, my quirks, my likes, and dislikes, my talents, my bents. There is nothing surprising about them. They’re my “I am who I am” pieces. You have “I am who I am” pieces too.
The Not-So-Easy Puzzle Pieces
The rest of the pieces turn out to be a fragmented mess, much like our life. These are the odds and ends pieces that aren’t so predictable.
“Aha” pieces. These are the pieces that frustrate us to no end. They’re the mess-ups, the let downs, and the distractions that make us want to “wave our white flag” and give up or walk away. Once they’re in place, however, we often breathe a sigh of relief and say things like “ah, now I get it!”.
“Lost” pieces”. These are the pieces we will crawl around on the floor and look for. They’re the ones we’ll check inside the dustbin of the vacuum for. We need them!
These are the people and events that have come and gone but were still instrumental in our lives. Our life just wouldn’t be the same without them in it. Our first boss. Our first job. Our favorite teacher. A former neighbor. Our first crush. Our first kiss.
“Weird” pieces. These are the pieces that don’t look like they belong at all. These are the bizarre things and crazy people who pop into our life that make us scratch our heads and think “what just happened?”. They took place or are in our life for a reason. We just can’t figure out why…yet.
“Forced” Pieces. These are the pieces that seem to fit, but just won’t, no matter how much we try to force them into place. These are the times in our life when we try and manipulate events or meetings that were just not meant to be. The relationship that went sour. The “sandpaper” person in our life (that person who rubs you the wrong way), the opportunity we jumped on that turned out to be a mistake.
It Will All Come Together In the End
As each year of our life goes by our puzzle will expand and begin to look clearer and come into focus. More pieces will interlock. Those things that looked out of place or had us confused will all make sense. Some days we’ll get a mountain top view of our life and understand why it’s unfolding the way it is. Other days we won’t because there’s much of it that is still unfinished.
Whatever puzzle stage we’re in, we can rest assured that all the pieces, in the end, will fit together. Why? Because they were meant to, that’s why! Each of us has a unique place in the world. Our life has a purpose. We are valuable. We are worthy. The world would be lacking if we weren’t in it.
Friend, it’s all the little pieces that make the big picture. Keep letting your life unfold. Piece by piece. Section by section. Until the masterpiece is complete.
Are you struggling to find where your puzzle piece fit? Are you frustrated with your puzzle (life) and doubt it will be a masterpiece in the end? Do you feel stuck, directionless, or confused?
It starts with you having a vision, knowing your calling, and stepping out. Here’s a chance for you to let me help you.