The Puzzle


I stood hunched over the coffee table, 1000 little pieces of printed cardboard spread across and overflowing onto the end table I had dragged over for support. The thrill of victory was growing as I snapped the last few pieces into several sides of the perimeter. I now had two sides completed and long strings of the remaining two sides. I was energized.
Suddenly I froze with the horror of an emerging realization! I had used all my side pieces…and at least 3 or 4 more were needed to complete the outside rectangle. I scanned anxiously across the tabletop for more flat sides, but none appeared. I had been duped! I had been snookered.
The promise of 1000 pieces was utterly compromised. If 3 or 4 were missing from the perimeter, more were likely lost from the interior. It’s a lost cause, I fumed. If I hadn’t just spent two hours to get to this point, I probably would have swept all 996 pieces back into the box and been done with it right then and there.
Instead, I let the broken promise remain on the table while I went off to do other things. Later, I came back, sat down, and glared at the table. Crickets. Then a smile slowly spread as I realized what a perfect metaphor this is for our far-from-perfect lives.
We’re all building a puzzle, right? The puzzle of marriage, career, children. Spiritual lives and physical health. Somehow it’s all supposed to fit together and create something of beauty. Something joyful and eternal. Instead, certain pieces come together easily and intuitively while others mystify us in the extreme and defy our labors. Sometimes we even grit our teeth and try to force pieces together. And then there are pieces that seem to be missing entirely. What to do then?
There are lots of folks out there trying to sell solutions to your puzzle, and in a way I suppose that Thrive9 is one of them. What’s different about our work is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Two things we know: 1) There is a design for your puzzle, and it truly is beautiful! Uniquely so. And 2) Only you can put it together…but you can’t do it alone. Here are a few strategies to consider:
Step back for the big picture. It’s really easy to get consumed with today’s small piece.
Consult the box top often. There is a Puzzle Maker, and he’s given you a picture to follow.
Enjoy the incremental beauty. If joy only comes when the puzzle is complete, we’re going to waste a lot of years unhappy. Instead, take delight when each new piece finds its home, personally and professionally.

Posted on October 31, 2013 .