“The world is a puzzle, and we cannot solve it alone.”
There were 1,000 pieces inside the box, and I watched with fascination as my friend and her daughter took the wheel to transform the pieces into the picture on the front of the box. Maybe their brains just process what’s in front of them differently than mine does. Maybe they had someone help them in their early days of working puzzles so they now think through things differently. Whatever it is, I wanted to help, but it was clear that my approach was not too effective. It was not going to be easy for me, not on my own. I think life is very similar to the jigsaw puzzle. Snicket’s words make me think. Just like solving a jigsaw puzzle, solving life’s puzzles will be much more successful if we don’t go it alone.
Taking a recent Friends and Family tour to see 3 people in 3 states, jigsaw puzzles seemed to continue popping up, and when something keeps appearing in front of you, it’s a good time to consider the possible lesson.
Life gets full of activities and choices for how to spend our time whether we are working or just managing our free time. Sometimes, all of the choices feel like the pieces of 1,000 Piece Puzzle, and it can be overwhelming. I know you can relate — the movie you want to watch, the scrapbook you want to make, the laundry you need to wash/fold/put away, the trails you want to hike, the car you want to work on, the friends you want to see. There are only 24 hours in every day, and if 6-9 of those are spent sleeping, it can be difficult to decide how to spend the other 15-18 hours.
When I saw the jigsaw puzzle, I was overwhelmed, when you and I see life’s options in front of us, dumped out like a pile of puzzle pieces, we are overwhelmed. I’ve decided that people who do well with the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle seem to do well with the pieces of life’s puzzles, so I’ve done some investigating to learn the best ways to work one kind of puzzle in hopes of working others well.
Solving Jigsaw Puzzles
Those seem to be the top three things to do before buying a puzzle. Wow! If I put that in terms of things going on in life, I think it might look like this:
Solving Life’s Puzzles
Hard to believe we haven’t even begun to work the puzzle and have already needed to do so much, but that’s the key to most things, isn’t it? Preparation.
Once you have the puzzle box in front of you, the best plan (based on what I’ve read and what I’ve observed) is this:
I feel like I just went through the steps to succeed in life. I guess Lemony Snicket really did understand that our world is like a puzzle. Let’s see if we can transfer the steps for completing a puzzle into terms that work for the puzzles in our world and in our life:
We don’t have to work a puzzle alone, and we don’t need to try to solve the world’s problems alone. Granted, there are too many committee meetings where people talk too much and for too long, but overall, it is in these times of being together that we solve problems. I invite you to work a jigsaw puzzle this week and then try to solve a problem in your own life, or even in our world, and maybe (especially) with the help of a friend.
Joy is the will which labors, which overcomes obstacles, which knows triumph.~ William Butler Yeats
Whether you think you can or think you can’t you’re right. - Henry Ford
The best way out is always through. ~ Robert Frost
Real difficulties can be overcome, it is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable. ~ Theodore N. Vail
Success consists of getting up just one more time than you fall. ~ Oliver Goldsmith
You must be the change you want to see in the world. - Mahatma Gandhi