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Puzzles - a short thought

January 18, 2018


Puzzles are largely a neglected form of entertainment. Though the development and implementation of smart phone technology into our little worlds may have something to do with it (that's another thought for another day), I think they are unpopular with most people because of the amount of work they require. Puzzles take up a lot of space and time. Once you open the box, pour out all of the pieces and try to assemble the frame, many have already lost patience and now have a mess of strewn cardboard shapes on their floors. For those of you that don't walk away at this point, you hit many moments during the puzzle assembly where you ask yourselves, "what have I gotten myself into?" or, "was this really a good way to spend my afternoon?" or "why would anyone do this for enjoyment?"

On the upside, when you aren't asking yourself those questions of doubt, you may be feeling a sense of accomplishment on a long streak of finding JUST the piece you were looking for. Then, once you have the majority of the puzzle complete, and you can see the holey picture before you, you cannot stop yourself; you have made it too far. At completion, you end up forgetting the questions of doubt and stand back to admire your hours (possibly days, if you're like me) of labor.

I won't beat around the bush any longer. I think there are many "puzzle boxes" in our lives, full of reward, that we simply are too lazy or fearful to open. We lack commitment and endurance in this age of instant gratification. Therefore, when a difficult but rewarding task is laid before us, we turn it down. The reward might be better than whatever else we had in mind, but many will either turn it down without entertaining the thought of opening the box, or they will quit soon after beginning, once the visualization of the end goal has faded out of their mind.

Few will actually open the box and endure the entire process. Few will submit themselves to the overwhelming mess on the floor of their lives, and then take the time to sort each piece of the mess out and find a place for it in the puzzle. Those few will feel the fear and the doubt and the discouragement, but they will push through because for them, the image of the completed picture on the front of the box is enough. 

We ought to open more puzzle boxes in our lives, and allow ourselves to have an inconvenient mess temporarily in order to experience the accomplishment afterwards. If we never attempt the puzzling things of this life, how will we even know what it is like to feel accomplished? 

Dump the box out. Sort each small piece; if it takes days or weeks, let it. Even if your puzzle takes you years, let it. The reward of the completed picture is worth it.

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