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Today I Solved a Puzzle

Today I solved a puzzle. 

Piece by piece I put it together. 

I’ve always loved puzzles. Putting them together feels like painting to me, but more manageable for someone who enjoys painting and doesn’t really have what most would call artistic skills. I am creative, but I’m not an artist. I’ve never considered myself an artist, no matter how creative I can be. 

I don’t want this to sound self-deprecating, I don’t mean it in that I lack the ability to paint. I mean it in the sense that there are people who can take creams, liquids, brushes, palettes, and canvases, filter them through their minds and hands to produce a beautiful work of art that moves the viewer to laughter, tears, joy, or action. They are artists. That is not a skill I have, just one I have sincere respect for. 

But I am creative. And puzzles for me are one medium through which I can express myself as I imagine artists do. I choose a puzzle that inspires me, usually a landscape or architecture. I open the box, sort through all the pieces, turning them upright and separating the edges from the middle pieces. Then I begin to solve. Sometimes I start with the outer rim, sometimes with a building or animal or other element I know I can solve. 

And once it’s complete, I step back and admire my work. I feel satisfied with what my hands have put together. I feel proud of my brain for linking pieces together one by one to create a beautiful picture. I feel accomplished having finished a task. I feel like I’ve won! 

I sometimes think of life as a puzzle. It’s not just a starting point and an ending point like a timeline. It’s a collection of experiences fitting in next to each other. We don’t usually understand the pieces on their own, or understand where in the picture they go. But eventually some of it begins to make sense. We see parts of the picture come together the longer we work at it. 

We have moments where it all makes sense, and other moments where we’ve lost the picture on the box and can’t see what to work together next. We lose pieces, never to be found again. Or the dog chews a couple pieces so they really don’t ever fit in quite right. 

By the end of our days we have an imperfect collection of our experiences that have shaped us. We can look at the whole picture and be proud. We can feel smart because of our decisions. We can feel satisfied with what we have made. We can feel accomplished for the good we have done. 

Today I solved a puzzle. Piece by piece I put it together. 

And that is how I will live my life. Piece by piece. 

Thanks for making this a part of your day!
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