Love is puzzling

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First Posted: 3/23/2015

As I spent the first day of spring staring out the window at the falling snow, I decided that, instead of pouting, I would occupy my mind with an indoor activity. I opened a puzzle box and while my intention was to busy my brain, what it did instead was open it to how similar this simple activity is to love.

Like love, this puzzle starts out as a jumbled mess. You see pieces have the potential of growing into something greater but don’t quite go together right away.

Some puzzles you can look at and figure out right away. Others, because they’re so complex, can lose your interest pretty quickly.

Others can leave you scratching your head; you never quite figure out how to get the parts to fit together.

Sometimes we look at the pieces and try seeing the big picture without knowing the level of work you have to put into it. You can see a part that looks like it was made for another and you try pushing it in by force to make it fit. Sometimes you push too hard and the piece bends. At that point it can’t go back to how it originally was and you realize it was never made to go where you thought it belonged and the puzzle is now ruined.

Other times, you have to spin the pieces around to see the different angles. It’s not always obvious what is right in front of you. There are times when you think it is about to come together only to realize you had everything backwards and have to start over again.

You can get lost in it. It can become an obsession and you forget about what is going on in the world around you. It is easy to get consumed by this project. You can lose track of time and instead of taking that break to take care of yourself, you let this thing become the focus of your life for a time (I realized I went 5 hours without a pee or snack break on this particular puzzle day).

As tempting as it may be to keep working at it, sometimes, you just have to force yourself to walk away. Maybe if you decide to come back later and look at the big picture with a fresh set of eyes, you see parts of it you didn’t realize were staring back at you since the beginning.

Building a strong foundation is key. You may have thought you figured out the middle without first establishing the border, it is then you realize that you need to work on the other parts first or else your picture will never fully come together.

It takes work, patience and time. Even then, you could convince yourself you finally have it all figured out and the big picture is complete, only to discover that your box has a missing piece. It is a hard-learned lesson that no matter how much work you put into something, some puzzles just aren’t meant to be finished. Someday though, with the right puzzle, all of the pieces will come together and it will be the work of art you were hoping for all along.