This past weekend my husband and I were looking for something new to do on our date night. We were supposed to go see a movie, but Jon didn’t feel well so we stayed home. Jon came up with the idea of putting a puzzle together. We had never done a puzzle together before. We had heard from a lot of people that putting a puzzle together is relaxing, so we decided to try it. The only puzzle we had in the house was a 300-piece Star Wars puzzle I had bought for Jon at the Dollar Store a long time ago. Gifts are one of Jon's love languages, so whenever I can come home from a shopping trip with a little something for him that makes him very happy. Jon pulled out this puzzle and we thought we’d sit for a couple of hours work on it together while we chatted…we were wrong. We became so focused on getting the puzzle done that we barely spoke to each other and it was not relaxing at all. A 300-piece puzzle took us four hours to put together!! I ended up giving up and going to bed, but Jon stayed up and finished it. It was a learning experience, to say the least.
Here’s what I learned about life from a puzzle:
1) Just walk away
Sometimes life, like puzzles, can become very overwhelming. All you can see is the missing pieces in front of you and not what needs to go there. The best thing too do at that point is just to mentally walk away for a bit. Get your mind off the problem. Let your brain rest for a bit. We all need to take a breather occasionally. Don’t push so hard to complete something that you forget what the goal was when you started it.
2) Distractions can be a good thing
Much like walking away for a bit can help you refocus, having a distraction is not always a bad thing. Case in point, while Jon and I were working on this puzzle we had the movie Aladdin playing in the background. We have seen the movie so many times growing up that we didn’t really have to watch it to enjoy it. We quoted lines, sang all the songs, and laughed our way through it while we stayed focused on the task at hand. So blast that music, or play the well wore DVD while you work hard. It may just to keep your morale up.
3) Keep track of all the pieces
Keeping track of all the pieces of a puzzle is hard especially if you have kids…or cats. Much like our own lives we have a lot of pieces to keep track off. Work life, home life, love life, church life, social life…all these things make us who we are. If we start losing pieces of who we are for a myriad of different reasons we start to feel less content with our lives. We must find balance and where every piece fits to make us a whole person. That in itself takes a lot of work!
4) Give yourself time
Everything that is worth something in this life takes time and effort. You can't just expect things to come to you. Work diligently at everything you do. The feeling of accomplishment you will get out of working hard for a goal will far outweigh the trials you went there you get there. As I have heard it said before, "Life is more about the journey than the destination." Take the time to enjoy the journey.
The next time you sit down to work on a puzzle remember that life lessons can be found in even the most simple things.