Updated: Feb 12
Winter is a great season to put puzzles together. When I was a young girl, my Dad made me a puzzle board because of my great enjoyment of doing puzzles during Christmas break.
Each December that puzzle board still comes out. A puzzle box is opened and the pieces are dumped out into a heap. As the sorting begins you get a sense of how difficult the puzzle is as you explore the shapes and colorful shades of each piece, seeking out those edges that set the boundary.
Puzzles give you something to focus on while you have fun side conversations that wander all over the place.
The mutual focus is collaboration, not competition. Unlike board games, there aren't any rules or pressure to win. - - -well, until you get to those last few pieces and the excitement picks up to see who gets to put in that last piece.
What's so satisfying about the last piece?
It's put in just seconds after the previous piece that didn't get any hoopla at all.
It can be located anywhere in the puzzle.
Yet ~ when the last piece goes in, you finally get the whole picture. The big picture is complete.
A sense of accomplishment settles over puzzlers when they finish a puzzle. Amidst all the trial-and-error to find a piece's correct location, a lot of searching goes on as we seek to find the "right" piece.
Once you've finished your puzzle, maybe you celebrate with a high-five or a "we did it!"
Then comes the dilemma... what do YOU do with a finished puzzle?
We often pass puzzles on to someone else to enjoy.
As a preteen I went through a phase where I would slather a completed puzzle with glue, then wait for it to dry. Later I'd slide the puzzle into a poster frame to hang on my bedroom wall so I could enjoy its kaleidoscope of colors a little longer.
Most of the time, though, our puzzles are disassembled and simply put back in the box. All those pieces are nestled right back into the cardboard container just like they started. Non-puzzlers may wonder "what's the point?"
- - - It's the process. One piece at a time. - - -
Each puzzle is unique and the cut of the pieces has a particular personality. Sometimes the challenge is the shading of colors. Other times it's the intricate shape of the pieces that increase the difficulty. When colors are too similar to distinguish pieces apart, then we focus on the shape of each piece to see where it fits best.
Have you noticed what your personal strategy is for solving puzzles?
We tend to have different techniques for solving puzzles. My son likes to figure out the location of certain pieces by closely examining the picture. I tend to follow the shading of colors, following the pattern as I go.
There are a lot of life lessons learned through puzzles: patience, perseverance, teamwork, problem-solving, finding our boundaries, identifying when we need to take a break, focusing on the task at hand, collaboration with others vs working independently...and the heart-breaker: managing our reactions when we realize a piece is missing.
During a recent sermon our pastor reminded us regarding the importance of Community and how we're each part of the body of Christ, using our individual unique gifts to fulfill His purpose.
We are all a piece of the body of Christ. (1 Cor 12:27) It may take us some time to figure out exactly where we fit, but when we're all connected together then the Big Picture is complete.
Pandemic life right now is a bit of a jumble. We have a lot of sorting out to do.
We may feel like we're missing pieces of our family puzzle due to social distancing. We may feel off-kilter sometimes as we each try different strategies to find the next step in how we fit together.
We can rest assured that God knows the BIG picture of how all of this comes together. We have to be patient and persevere.
One of the things that has settled me when I've felt restless during this unusual time is Bible Quilting. Seeking out verses on a common theme and figuring out how they fit together on a page helps me focus on something positive. My restlessness fades and my creativity emerges as I "stitch" scriptures into one quilt piece after another until the picture is complete.
This pandemic winter has been a season of reflecting on what pulls us together rather than apart. It's a time of building within our families so we'll be more constructive for the kingdom when we move outward into our communities.
As the body of Christ, we're uniquely suited with our different strengths and abilities. Until we can all be together - - -visibly functioning together as a whole - - - we can connect in other ways. We can increase communication through actual phone calls, FaceTime, etc. and even send actual "snail mail" to encourage one another.
As we hunker down with our immediate families, we can continue to engage in quiet activities that increase our cohesion and family traditions.
We can put puzzles together here ...and afar.
One side of our family received the same puzzle for Christmas, so that the whole extended family got to do the SAME puzzle during our Covid Christmas. That generated a flurry of text photos as we shared our progress with one another.
We can Bible Quilt together here ...and afar.
Send friends or family photos of pages that you're working on or maybe set a goal to do the same template in a certain timeframe. As you share, it's like a virtual show-and-tell that keeps you plugged in with one another.
I've got some Bible Quilters that are sending templates to their grandkids, then having a Bible Quilting session with them online through Zoom or FaceTime.
During this puzzling time of Covid, we've gotta be creative and tap into our resources. I'm confident we can do this...one piece at a time.
Puzzle template for BQ
If you haven't done the puzzle template yet, go for it! It's adaptable for a variety of themes.