Every Christmas break the kids and I buy a jigsaw puzzle to work on together. Most often it is a colorful scene with a lot of tiny detail. This year the image was a picturesque waterfront lined with colorful restaurants, boutique hotels and handsome looking ships.
We worked into the wee hours of the morning to match up colors and shapes to complete our holiday masterpiece. Over three days, we put 750 pieces together, and we couldn’t feel more satisfied and accomplished. Another holiday puzzle conquered.
But it is through this tedious, time consuming and precise pastime that I’ve learned some fairly straightforward life lessons that I’d like to share.
No one can be summed up in one word and no one should be judged in that way either. It’s easy to make judgments, come to quick conclusions and maintain your position about people. But like the many shapes and colors of a puzzle, people are complex, complicated and intricately made. Deciding who someone is based on what you see is unfair. We’re more than just what’s on the outside, we’re the culmination of a growing multitude of experiences that most often no one truly understands. Be fair and compassionate with others, we’re more alike than not.
You only get to your destination through perseverance. Puzzles can be frustrating! When the color palette is the same and you have to focus on very small details you feel like giving up. Don’t! Whatever your goal, keep moving forward. The payoff feels really good.
When life gets complicated, take a step back, look at the whole picture and count your blessings. As we meticulously searched for each and every puzzle piece to place it exactly in its proper location, it became evident that sometimes you’ve just gotta back up to get perspective. Like the puzzle, life will get tough. When those cloudy, rainy days come, accept it as a moment in time, backup, get a healthy view and thank God for what you have.
Change your approach when faced with a recurring problem. Kyli and I worked on separate parts of the puzzle to get it done quickly. But at some point, we both were stumped. Having looked at the same patterns, the same colors and the same shapes for so long, we decided to switch up. A fresh set of eyes gave us both a boost and we each were able to see things that the other did not. As the saying goes, if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get the same result, so if it means anything to you, try a new way.
Sometimes what you’re looking for is staring you right in the face. I hate when I’m looking for a puzzle piece and the entire time, it was directly in front of me. Duh! Why didn’t I see that the first time? There is no mystery, the answers you seek are often so obvious but we just won’t accept it because we think it’s too simple, or sometimes it’s not the answer we want. No need to go searching far outside of yourself for answers and truth, it’s most likely right in front of you.
Don’t force things to work that weren’t meant to go together. We’ve all done it, forcing puzzle pieces together that don’t match. Clearly, that doesn’t work, and if you keep those two unmatched pieces together, the rest of the puzzle will fail. Whether its relationships, jobs, or a pair of shoes, don’t force things in your life that clearly are not meant!
…so it goes