The Puzzle of Life

I stared at the partially built puzzle on Mom’s coffee table, its bright colorful pieces scattered in and around the mostly-finished frame, some of them roughly organized but overall looking like utter chaos. It was rather overwhelming to consider putting the rest of it together.

“It looks like a perfect metaphor for my life right now!” I said, laughing.

Mom made us some popcorn, and homemade fresh-squeezed Lemon Drops. We put on some groovy tunes and tackled the puzzle project together. It took several long sessions over the weekend but we finally finished Sunday night, with my sister arriving right beforehand. She found and put in place the very last piece. *click* So satisfying!

And it was a perfect metaphor for my life right now.

I’m in the process of making some big changes. The puzzle pieces of my life seem to be messily scattered all around me and within me, and I’m struggling to fit them together. It has been quite overwhelming.

But something else has been happening, as I’ve settled down into the commitment to figure it out, this picture. I’m getting into it. I’m starting to have fun with it. And I’m remembering I don’t have to do it alone either. I have people to share the experience with, who are there to support and encourage me; who are putting together their own puzzles. We can help each other. (Thanks Mom! Thanks sis!)

Puzzles are such a great metaphor for life.

How often do we feel overwhelmed by all the pieces in front of us, as we try to create a vision of our lives?

And how many start-and-stop efforts do we make to get our s*** together only to walk away because we’re going cross-eyed from trying too hard? (Break time! Another Lemon Drop, please…)

How many times do we pick up that one piece and try to fit it yet again in a spot where it doesn’t belong? (But damnit! It’s so close!)

(Ugh I know that feel…!)

What about when we put together the pieces and they all fit nicely, only to realize it’s a picture of something we didn’t want, didn’t need, and ultimately has delayed us from the real puzzle we are meant to complete?

And then, conversely, there is the sweet satisfaction of having something click into place in our lives that is meant for us. Of having the “aha” of knowing exactly how a piece (a person, experience, hobby, book, event, etc.) belongs in our lives. And seeing the progress we are making, even though it feels for a long time that we weren’t getting anywhere, we suddenly see how far we’ve come, and are heartened in the journey to continue.

That’s how it goes when we strive to fit together the puzzle of our lives. Eventually, piece by piece, reality catches up with our desires and our efforts. At first, the small pieces flow in and out for a while, and then suddenly they’re even bigger pieces, the bigger picture comes together, connects, and just like that we’re looking at a real-time reveal of our life and self as they were meant to be.

It’s going to take a lot more than a weekend at Mom’s to get my life together. But at least it’s one small piece of the puzzle, and I can enjoy the process of finding and fitting in the rest. It will certainly take time. And it will be a challenge. Ah, well… I’m game. 😉

Listen to this playlist to get your life puzzle-solving groove on! 🙂

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