Jigsaw Puzzle Enthusiasts, Unite!

My latest attempt at assembling a 1000 piece, cut-out cardboard jigsaw puzzle has me reflecting on why we enthusiasts enjoy them so.

I have friends who stay up late into the night to finish connecting those last key pieces. These are people with real stick-to-it-iveness. I have other friends who won’t connect one single piece in the body of their puzzles until the entire border is first completed. These people have their priorities (and borders) straight. I’ve concluded that the way we assemble a jigsaw puzzle says a lot about our personalities.

My latest endeavor is a brilliantly colored nativity scene. Stealing the show above the manger is a chapel with a three-paneled, stained glass window.

As I piece together each window, I am reminded of the European chapels and cathedrals I’ve toured in England and France. You could stand for hours simply admiring the colors as sunlight streams through the glass. The shades of cobalt blue, turquoise green and rose are decidedly incredible to behold, especially considering how old the famous windows actually are. The cathedrals of Notre Dame and Chartes stand out in my memories. You can’t help but wonder how challenging the assemblage of such irreplaceable art must’ve been, and how in the world the heavy pieces were hoisted up by ropes and pulleys, and installed to last hundreds of years. The entire world breathed a sigh of relief when the dreadful fire at the Notre Dame cathedral left the priceless stained glass unscathed.

These thoughts are just some of the reasons I enjoy doing a challenging jigsaw puzzle. I get lost in them. I forget everything else, just like I do when reading a good novel. The puzzles challenge me in a myriad of different ways. And just like a captivating novel, I’m never really ready to finish them. When that last page is turned, or when that missing piece finds its rightful place in an intricate patterned puzzle, I know I’m going to miss the time spent in pursuit of a satisfying ending. But I’m here to testify that if a puzzle (or a book, for that matter) presents too much of a challenge for me, I’ve been known to abandon them. The puzzles go back to their box from whence they came. I call those scoundrels. Just like a novel’s book jacket, the photo on top of the puzzle box showing the completed work, usually clues me in. Enough variation of design, and I’m up to the challenge. But show me a puzzle with an overall pattern without much variance, if I even attempt it, I’m more likely to donate the scoundrel to total strangers down at Goodwill, because you just never know. Your reject could be someone else’s treasure.

Happy assembling, my fellow puzzle enthusiasts!

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