Wednesday, July 24, 2013

It's a puzzle that's served us well.

When I was a kid I used to take all the puzzles out of the "game closet" next to our front door and spread them out on the floor of the front room (living room? family room? formal greeting room? Who knows what the "proper" name is). I'd put them in a large circle covering the majority of free floor space between our floral white couch and peach chairs. I'd dump the puzzles over, their pieces strewn in a pile, and once each puzzle was an empty slate I would begin.

Starting at the top of the circle I'd work my way clockwise, doing each puzzle as perfectly and quickly as I could. After making this common practice I began to pretend I was timing myself, and that this puzzle circle was my brainiac Olympics and I had to beat my personal best time. Eventually I added the more complex puzzles, telling myself once I got used to putting them together I could still hold record time.

Love is a puzzle depicting the sky. We each enter into life with our box of blue pieces, our quest being to find those whose pieces complete our picture. We stop and align our pieces with another, trying to make the puzzle work. But it's often hard to see how blue pieces fit without knowing if we're crafting the same picture. We spend an infinite amount of time trying one person's pieces only to discover those pieces that did fit don't build a picture; there are gaping holes or missing corners. Our sky is incomplete.

I'm sick of puzzles. I'm sick of waving my box about like a tin collecting alms, waiting for someone to think to try them out. I'm sick of finding matches that have more wrong than they do right, tired of extra pieces collecting dust in my box, through with packing up the puzzle again and moving around the circle to the next one.

I just want to finish it. I want to do what my grandparents have done and sit down, finish the puzzle, and glue it to a board to hang over the piano. I want to stop undergoing this task and behold it as art. I'm done with puzzles.

I read a few chapters in a book once that discussed an idea called 'flow.' It is, in essence, moments when a person is at the peak of their performance, whether that be music, sports, lecturing...when a person's task is so easily undertaken that it feels effortless, almost out of body, to be accomplishing it so perfectly with so little cognitive processing. The book also discussed how one cannot reach that peak, that flow, without stimulation. Practice. You're never going to have that perfect moment if you lie on the couch all day proclaiming boredom. As humans we're equipped to learn, to do. We're most satisfied in a bored state when doing something constructive: reading books or newspapers, cleaning, crafting. It's effort that leads us to achieving moments of excellence.

Won't I be more pleased when the puzzle finally works if I've been trying at it for so long? Won't it mean more to have worked endlessly for it?

Pop always says he prayed two years before he met Mom. Mom "dated" 64 guys before she met Dad.

Eight months and five guys down...

Here's to finishing the puzzle..

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