Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Puzzle to Me

     Pieces of the puzzle lie scattered on the table. Only a few rows of green leafy branches along the left side had been placed in position. Whoever had taken on the challenge to work 500 small pieces into a scene of the Grand Canyon had given up, at least for today.

     Early the next morning with important things on my mind I nearly forgot to look at the puzzle. As I turned to go down the hall I impulsively swung back to peer in the open doorway. Had someone made any progress? Very little, I noted. A little patch of blue sky expanded along the right side. Much remained to be done.

     So it was for the next several days. I’d be purposefully headed to my office next to the lobby when curiosity would call me to glance at the emerging puzzle. Progress was extremely slow. Why?

     On Monday morning I made my move. Surely the puzzled person needed some help. I scanned the pieces and within minutes was able to affix a dozen that would attach along the bottom row of the picture. A small, delighted feeling of accomplishment swirled in my head as I accelerated my pace to my place of duty.

     That hardly did any good, I noted with a wry frown on Tuesday. Oh, well.

     Each day that week the puzzle grew by only a couple of pieces. Would the jigsaw win? Would the struggling puzzle-assembler give up? What could be so hard?

     By Friday a brilliant idea dawned. I would do this poor, inadequate person a huge favor. Arriving a good twenty minutes earlier than usual I sat down in the chair facing the table. The miserable, unfinished puzzle would meet its match.

     With practiced performance my nimble fingers and eyes coordinated. Amazing, how many connections I found. The vista began to take on a greater depth of beauty. Ah, the Grand Canyon.

     Once the outer edges had been successfully joined quite a few of the other puzzle pieces seemed eager to meet them. Would my small sacrifice of time and talent be enough to spur the struggler on to success, I wondered.

     Another Monday, and my office awaited, but a strong urge clouded my mind. What’s the problem? “What a puzzle!” I exclaimed to no one. “Why isn’t my help enough to conquer this sixth-grade-level jigsaw.” A glimmer of an idea played around the edges of my imagination. “This person is no doubt frustrated beyond his or her capabilities. I can solve the conundrum!”

     An experienced eye and two quick-moving hands got to work. I didn’t leave until the whole beautiful landscape was complete.

     Strong satisfaction surged through my brain; the problem is fixed. A smile engaged my face as I picked up my briefcase and strode briskly to my office. Kind-hearted as I am, surely the Lord is pleased with me today. My intentions are admirable. At any rate, I’ll soon catch up with the daily trivia awaiting my attention.

     Finally clearing my desk at 5:30 I locked the door. On my way down the silent hall I heard the voices of a woman and a child.

     “Now I can’t do it myself. Somebody spoiled the puzzle.”

     The reply surprised me, “Somebody didn’t know how much you were able to do. Somebody didn’t know how much you wanted to do.”

     Of course, I turned my face away and continued walking down the hall. The wise woman and the disappointed child did not need me to enter into this learning experience. And I needed to have a little talk with myself and the Lord on the long drive home.               # # #

by Elaine Hardt ©2009