Puzzled

When was the last time you made something broken whole again?

There is a great satisfaction in seeing individual pieces come together, orchestrating the reunion of so many wayward fragments. My grandmother was fully aware of this, and I hope it was the reason why she passed her love of puzzles on to me.

My grandmother is a firecracker. She isn’t afraid to share her views on the world. In fact, her coworkers nicknamed her Frank…you can guess why. She also enjoys her quiet moments, and one of her pastimes includes working jigsaw puzzles.

I remember spending nights at her apartment in our tiny Kentucky hometown and seeing her 1,000-piece puzzles. Placed on a sheet of poster board, the puzzle quietly occupied a section of her living room floor. She worked on puzzles of lush landscapes or beautiful architecture–a testament to her skill and keen eye.

She taught me her techniques and life lessons at the same time. Separating the edge pieces from the middle ones, completing the frame first, was really a lesson in patience and planning ahead. Keeping all the pieces in the box instructed me to stay organized and take care of my belonging. Laying down the final piece reminded me that even though things seem like they will never come together, eventually everything will connect.

Most of all, I learned to relish quiet moments. We deal with so much noise throughout the day–phone calls and emails and texts and tweets and all of the other interactions we have on a daily basis. Taking a moment to sit down and complete a quiet activity can bring calm to a very hectic world.

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