What is your method of operation when it comes to working a puzzle?
And how adaptive are you to working cooperatively with others who differ in their approach?
For me, no surprise to many who know me and love me in spite of me, I am slightly rigid and narrow minded in how we go about it. When the 500 to 1,000 give or take a few pieces are released from the plastic bag, they must be carefully sorted from one half of the box to the other.
Tedious time is taken extracting any edge pieces and the corner sections are set aside in their own holding pen. Through this meticulous process, I invariable miss several of them and there is a certain angst that sets in as we have holes in the frame. During this time I typically struggle with two over-riding thoughts.
One is berating myself for not finding all of the straight edge pieces on the first go, and second is a gnawing doubt that all the little jigs made it into the box at the factory.
Throughout the remaining days of putting the picture together, this doubt will resurface continually, growing in intensity as we near the last few little sections that need completion. It never looks like there are enough to fill the gaps and I will say repeatedly that I think we are missing pieces.
I am very fun to work on puzzles with.
Meanwhile, my better half is just fine with starting to put some of the obvious inner pieces together as he works steadily and quietly at my side.He neither placates my angst nor argues with it. He just works for a while and then moves on, returning later to say I have made progress and join in again.
Most of life is a puzzle, you know.
We work to frame it and then figure out how the pieces fall into place. We work on areas where we seem to be making progress and then lose interest when it gets challenging. We are convinced at times that some pieces that are needed for completion have been lost or were never there to begin with.
We secretly blame some outside source for it…someone hid one so he or she can put the last piece in…someone knocked one off the table and the vacuum ate it. We get frustrated and walk away but then the desire to restore completion to the picture brings us back.
It stirs something in us that reminds us that we like things to have a logical and organized way of fitting together. Solving a puzzle on a table top reminds us that we want to take what is confusing and restore order to it so that it makes sense.
Some of us do this calmly and without a great deal of emotional involvement and some of us don’t. For Russ and me we have a good balance.
If it was just him, I am not sure the puzzle would have gotten purchased, emptied out of the box or finished. If it was just me, it would remain on the table unfinished as I stewed about who took the missing pieces, and why can I not find that one that has just a tip of white and the remainder red with that obviously funny crook in the little knobby end.
We need each other to work together, each in our own unique wirings and perspectives to figure out the puzzles of life. We also need God who has an eternal perspective, knows where the missing pieces are and is at work in us as we work it out together with Him.
My way of putting a puzzle together is not the only way or the right way. It’s just my way. Working with someone who solves puzzles differently helps me grow in relationship with that one and realize the joy is not solving the puzzle but doing it with someone else.
As I seem to default to despair that we will every finish, Russ’s calm demeanor and encouraging words keep me on track. I am not sure what I do for him, but we will assume I encourage him in some way as well. Two are definitely better than one.
That is all an oversimplification, but puzzles are designed to be confusing. They have to be solved and the benefit to them is in the solving. It is tempting to just walk away from things that we can’t figure out easily. It is tempting to try to work them out on our own with our own methods. We are built for relationship and working through the puzzles of life with others helps us grow in character and Christ-likeness.
What is puzzling you right now? At work, at home, at church, in the world? Prayerfully seek out wise and discerning people to help you put the pieces in place. And always remember God knows the solution, so include Him in the process <3