Charity should begin at home, but should not stay there. ~ Philip Brooks
You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. ~ Anonymous
A good laugh is sunshine in the house. ~ William Makepeace Thackeray
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LIFE IS A PUZZLE
He’s easy to buy for, no matter the occasion. Just buy him a puzzle. The more pieces, the better. You will never visit him without seeing a puzzle laid out and under construction. He no sooner finishes one, and the next one is opened up.
I’ve always envied his patience. I don’t know how many he completes in a year, I just know that in all my years, I’ve completed but two, and that was with help from others. It truly is a great hobby to get into if you want to keep your mind sharp, but patience is a hard commodity for me to find. Therefore, it’s not a hobby I’ve personally taken up, but I can’t resist attempting to place one or two pieces of his puzzle when I visit him.
During my last visit, I even told him how I admired his persistence. After finding a place for a couple pieces, I announced that I was done. I told him I was not of the puzzle solving nature. He said, “Nonsense… everyone is of the puzzle solving nature. After all, that’s what life is. It’s one big puzzle.” I wasn’t understanding his analogy, so I asked him to explain.
“Everyone begins life with a clear table. There are no borders or framework set. You may have a snapshot of what you want your life to be like, and as you get older and deeper into your puzzle, you maybe start to form a framework to bring that snapshot to fruition. Family and friends help you form the corners of your puzzle. You search to learn and test different pieces to form a frame or outer borders of your puzzle.”
“Once you’ve done that, it’s a matter of filling in the pieces. Every day is another piece of your puzzle. Some fit easily, while others are hard to place. But every piece is necessary if you are to continue to build.”
“Now, here’s the real secret to my success with puzzles. I’ve always had help. Just as you always place a few pieces of my puzzle each time you visit, so do others. Maybe not necessarily the physical puzzle on my coffee table, but with my larger, more important puzzle, the puzzle of life. Every person that comes into my life helps build my puzzle. Some will try and place pieces where they don’t belong. These people are no longer invited to contribute. But others are able to see where pieces fit that I have been stumped by. They contribute to my puzzle in a positive way and are invited to contribute often. They are my friends.”
As I left, I found myself considering purchasing a puzzle for my odd moments of boredom. But as I thought a bit more, I decided I’m better suited to concentrate on my ‘Life Puzzle’. After all, based on my friend’s analogy, it’s probably the most challenging puzzle I’ll ever work on, no matter how many people contribute to it. Besides, I can always contribute to someone else’s puzzle as long as I’m fortunate enough to have others willing to invite me into their lives. Here’s the best part. It doesn’t matter to me how many people contribute to my life puzzle. My puzzle is a long work in progress. The real joy comes in contributing to someone else’s puzzle. Because the one thing better than calling someone else a friend, is having someone else call me a friend.