A Puzzle Means Time to Celebrate

Every Christmas we put together a jigsaw puzzle. We’re working on “Road Trip America” right now. It’s one thousand pieces. Some years they’re bigger. Never smaller. This one is kind of tough, because it’s shaped like America. No straight edges to start with. We had to find the state names first and work from the inside out. Thinking outside of the box, we are.

The puzzle presence can’t be missed. Its spread out for days, weeks even, taking up the entire coffee table in the middle of the living room. It’s kind of a mess. And it’s a total time suck.  It can even be somewhat burdensome, what with the cats often laying on top of it, stealing pieces that you spend hours pursuing, gone for ever. That’s annoying. Sometimes it sort of seems like maybe it’s a waste of time when progress is slow.

However, that is simply not the attitude to take. It is not a waste of time! Rather, it’s a fun challenge. It’s playful. It puts you in slow-mode. It’s an excuse not to do the dishes. It’s a real stop and smell the daisies sort of endeavor. A reason to spend time gathered in front of the fire with the family for hours searching for the right shape, the exact color. And feeling totally exhilarated when you find the piece your looking for.

And so. Why bring this up? Where’s the metaphor?

The holidays can sometimes bring out the crazy rather than whatever it is that they are supposed to celebrate. Say, family, spirit, sharing, tradition, ritual. So, this puzzle building for me is kind of meditative, kind of playful, kind of celebratory. It puts me in a real holiday frame of mind. Who knew! I always thought I just liked putting together puzzles.