Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Case of the Disappearing Jigsaw Puzzle

In the post-Christmas lull with snow and temperatures below zero, I've looked for activities to fill in the space between our doctor appointments.  It's great being retired, right?

I finished the book that Katie gave me on my Kindle for Christmas.  I finished the antique book about a French Huguenot in Virginia in 1686 that Larry got me for Christmas.  I piddled from day to day on the jigsaw puzzle that Santa brought me for Christmas.  Actually, Larry bought it for me at the Amish store in Wytheville.

Puzzle-solving is a disappearing art today.  It takes some time to put the pieces together, and there is nothing electronic about it.  Just your problem-solving mind, patience, nimble fingers, and a lot of time.

Jigsaw puzzles are a lot like life. The first thing you must do in puzzle-solving is to find the edge pieces and set the boundary for the picture.  So it is in life also.  God has helped us by setting boundaries that will not only bring us closer to Him but enhance the abundance of our lives.  Each piece of the puzzle must be inspected, sometimes turning the piece around to see if it fits in a way we had not anticipated.  Many references to the picture on the front of the box will help you  look for specific colors and patterns.  The picture on the box is the guide that helps you find patterns in the 1,000 pieces and fit it all together, just as the Bible is the guide that adds structure and guidance to our lives.  As the pieces fall into place, things begin to go more quickly.  It's easier to place 25 pieces of the picture than 1,000 pieces.  As we grow older, some things become clearer as we look back and see how the pieces maybe should have fit together instead of the way we forced parts of the picture together.

And as happens sometimes in life, pieces go missing.  Some questions seem unanswerable no matter how long you ponder them.  As you can see in the photos of the puzzle, one piece right in the middle of the picture is missing.  Throughout the working of the puzzle, I occasionally searched the entire dining room for a piece.  I found one piece still inside the box.  Many pieces were found on the floor under the table.  I picked one piece out of the vacuum cleaner.  It was not unusual to find either me or Larry on our hands and knees crawling around the dining room looking for a piece of the picture.  When I was about to admit that the piece was just not there, I found it somewhere, either on the floor or sitting right in front of me, just turned the opposite way of which it should go.

I gave up on that piece in the middle.  I admitted that it had been eaten by the dog or thrown out in the trash.  It just was not there.  The evening that I finished the puzzle and told Larry that a piece was missing, he came downstairs and thoroughly searched the floor, the chairs, the candy bowl on the table, under the china cabinet, everywhere.  I just couldn't give up, though.  Every once in a while, I went in the dining room and looked up, down, over, and under, looking for that missing piece.  No luck.

This morning I considered that the morning light reflected off the snow cast a brighter light in the dining room, and I did a quick look around the table.  No puzzle piece.  So after I vacuumed the family room, I took the vacuum-cleaner back to its cubby hole in the dining room.  As I turned to leave, I looked down by the table leg next to the window.  And you know what happened.  I yelled to Larry, who came immediately and knew instantly why I was so excited.  Yes, there was the missing piece to the puzzle. 
The completed puzzle with ALL of the pieces.

Now, Larry has thought for some time that we have a ghost in our house.  (I'll not go into the reasons right now; that's a much longer story.)  I do not believe this.  But he thinks that this ghost was having a little fun with us by hiding the puzzle piece.  He says there is no way that we could have missed seeing that puzzle piece because it was so obvious lying there beside the table leg.  I say that it was stuck under the chair leg, stuck in the cushion of the chair, or hidden under some of the mess on our dining table, stuck to the wheel of the vacuum cleaner and picked this morning to fall out on the floor.  I could tell by the look in his eyes that he will never believe my more reasonable explanation of how the piece got down there on the floor by the table leg.

So ends the tale of the struggle of the puzzle with so many missing pieces.  Just when you think all is hopeless, that there is no way to put it all together, pieces are dropped right in your lap by some means that you are at odds to explain.  There's a lot of winter left for us to ponder where all those pieces have been.