A Stupid Parable


So I just finished a 1,000 (1,026 to be exact) piece puzzle that has been a thorn in my side for a few months now. I very much enjoy jigsaw puzzles, but this one was just ridiculously hard. I don't normally start puzzles this big but I was feeling crazy one day and it just happened. Beginning confidently, I quickly put together the borders which of course gives a false sense of accomplishment. After that manageable chunk was finished things became quite impossible and it sat on my coffee table for many weeks with not much progress. But I just couldn't put it away. I'd walk by every day and curse the fact that I had started it. I couldn't manage to get more than 1 or 2 pieces done in a day.

I was just about to quit when general conference came and with it a large stretch of time to dedicate to my puzzle. So I just sat and worked. The puzzle is a larger picture made up of thousands of tiny photos in mosaic and there's really nothing much to go on other than color groups. I just had to wade through and try each piece in each available spot. But I found that as I stared at it and worked at it, subtleties appeared that made it even more manageable and actual progress started to be made. It seemed even - dare I say it - possible! I noticed my progress and started congratulating myself and even starting to draw all sorts of parallels to life. I was after all listening to general conference which tends to make one feel all kinds of profound. Grand notions started to form in my head about how there are some things in life that we know need to be done, but just seem impossible from the outset. That there is no clear path from point A to point B, we just have to take it step by step and trust the outcome is a good one.

So conference weekend got me through the worst of it and over the last few weeks I've polished off the rest of the puzzle. A few days ago I put in the very last piece. But instead of feeling a great sense of accomplishment, I felt kinda dumb. What did I really have to show for my efforts? A stupid puzzle that I'll destroy tomorrow and box up on the shelf for the rest of forever. I'm embarrassed to even admit here on my silly blog with a readership hovering near a dozen that I even enjoy jigsaw puzzles. So there goes my deep life metaphor. I guess next time I'll make sure my efforts and exasperation go into something a little more worthwhile.

P.S. I still like jigsaw puzzles :-)


Dana said...

What you got out of it, you can't see. Your brain got a good workout and new neural nets were wired. I think that's a good thing.

Audra said...

I love your parable. I think it is even deeper than you say.

Pam said...

I particularly love that the puzzle is of the Simpsons- That just added a few new analogies for me!

Naomi said...

What?! I think doing mindless things like that are totally meditative. In fact, I submit that you were able to pay better attention to conference because of having something like that to do while you focus your thoughts on the speakers. I usually have some needlepoint project that I am never going to finish to do during conference, just to keep my mind from wandering.

Naomi said...

Also, what gives with the new background. Change gives me anxiety. You gotta warn a girl about something like that.

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