When we arrived, I found three familiar bent heads focused on the remaining pieces spread around the not-yet-finished jigsaw puzzle on the coffee table. In time, those pieces evolved into a whimsical cat picture, the process of which absorbed a variety of extended family members, from 8 to mid 70s, over a snowy holiday weekend. Various family came to linger in the living room, trying their hand at puzzle creation; searching for a likely piece, placing it in their imagined spot, and then returning it to the table once their attempt failed.
We’ve all seen or been engrossed by such endeavors. But this one caught my attention. It hindered a quick finish with its limited color differentiations, causing drop outs unwilling to invest more time without clear progress. After all, there were other family engagement options during our days together, from “Just Dance” video game challenges to pie making.
By our second day, two puzzle-players remained. Determined to finish, they rarely moved from their homesteaded-spots on the couch and adjacent chair. By evening, the puzzle was as done as it would ever be — complete but not completed. With one piece missing, technically, the picture would never be “finished.”
I’ve thought about that weekend several times since, with its intensity of effort, missing piece frustration, and then acceptance of the puzzle’s imperfection. Lost. Missing. Never received? Who knows why the piece wasn’t there. It didn’t matter; it was still fun.
But the experience got me thinking. We all have a missing piece or two at times in ourselves or in our lives; pieces like (continue reading →)