What better way to spend time quarantined at home than to pick up a new (or old!) hobby.
I have friends spending their time sewing masks, painting, reading, deep cleaning. All noble pursuits. But I have decided to devote time to something I’ve wanted to do for years. Something I haven’t been able to do while my son was a baby and toddler. But now that he’s 3+ years old, I decided I can finally trust him enough to leave a 500-piece puzzle alone.
I designated an area of our dining room table to my inaugural puzzle. A complicated floral arrangement with a dizzying array of greens, browns, pinks, and whites. Yep, I jumped into the deep end.
Once I did the easy work of putting together the edges, I quickly found myself overwhelmed. Where do I go from here? We all start at the edges, don’t we? But I moved toward center, and I muddled my way through all 500 pieces, mostly at night after my son went to bed, and mostly while listening to the Hamilton soundtrack.
Throughout this process, I had a continuum of thoughts along the vein of:
- I know this piece must fit in this exact spot, I just know it! Why isn’t it clicking into place? Maybe the puzzle designer made a mistake.
- How long is this going to take? (And why are there so many shades of pink??)
- I’m so overwhelmed, I just want to quit.
- I’m no good at this. Maybe I should have started with a 50-piece Disney puzzle.
Of course, only after turning the piece around 90, 180, or 270 degrees did I see how it’s meant to fit. Or, after I would take a break from one section and complete another, I could clearly see how, in fact, it all does work together, and marvel at that.
I can’t help but compare my frustration (and eventual humility) with the puzzle to the same frustration (and eventual humility) I’ve felt with God in my life. Impatience paired with the necessity to plug away, piece by piece, night after night, to see if the masterpiece actually unfolds with perseverance.
Will this challenging “puzzle piece” in my life ever fit in somewhere? Will a thing of beauty come from this sharp-edged frustration? Will the trial I’m in uncover a hidden treasure?
Now I’m trying to be hopeful during the worldwide coronavirus crisis. What good will come from this pandemic? What is its purpose? How can we persevere during the long weeks spent in isolation? How can we change our perspective during this time to celebrate the freedom, health, and relationships we take for granted year-round?
I’m grateful for the lessons my puzzle nights have taught me during quarantine.
I’ve now moved on to a 1,000-piece puzzle, and have changed my strategy using what I’ve just learned. I now take each piece, turn it around over and over in my fingers, examining it from all angles while locating the exact image on the cover of the puzzle box. I give myself grace to set it aside for a while until I have a new perspective on where it might fit. I focus on the importance of each piece and how it’s created to intricately fit into the big picture. It has a purpose, and I can’t lose sight of that.
And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
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