Sunday, February 01, 2009


On New Year's Day, hubby bought me a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle. It came in a really nice box you wouldn't think it cost only $5. I was totally okay with a jigsaw puzzle gift at $5! Better than a $50 perfume I will hesitate to use. Sayang!

That same night I started working on the puzzle while everyone else was either watching TV or eating Media Noche leftovers or playing on the computer. Occasionally, one or two sons joined me as I was "puzzling" on the dining table. They came and went, came and went, but I hardly left my seat.

"Mom, are you still doing that?" Gabriel asked late at night. "That's not how you do it. You don't finish it in one sitting," he added.

But I'm a little obsessive, you know.

I finished the puzzle past midnight after everyone, except Markus, had slept. It took me about 6 hours straight. Only Markus witnessed the last glorious minutes as I fitted in the last remaining pieces. Woo-hoo!!

The next morning, they were all pleasantly surprised. The finished product was so pretty I kept admiring it. "I will frame this," I said proudly.

"You finished it already?" hubby asked. "We were supposed to do that together."

Awww, I didn't know that was supposed to be a together thing.

Last week, I took out a bigger box of jigsaw puzzle that I bought from a garage sale last summer. It had 1,500 pieces in all. The picture was more intimidating, it took me this long to start it. It has the half-body of King Tut with a wall of hieroglyphics behind it. Very difficult.

"I need to have some mental exercise," I thought to myself. The brain needs exercise too. You have to challenge it. I'm done a season of crossword puzzles. I like to do jigsaw puzzles this time.

As I laid out the 1,500 pieces on the bedroom floor, I realized this won't be done in one-sitting even if I tried. The whole puzzle is about 3ft by 2ft big and the pieces are tiny.

Finding and piecing the edges together took me two or three nights already. "How will I ever finish this?" I asked myself.

One week later, I'm still working at it, with a long way to go. I sometimes wonder if I should just pack it up. But the obsessive person that I sometimes am, I keep plugging away. Can't quit now!

This morning, Markus joined me for a little while.

"Jigsaw puzzles teach you patience and concentration," I told him.

"Mom, you have to sort by colours," Markus said.

"I know. I did that already. I'm close to close to being done," I said. Close to close to being done. It was my puzzling way of saying I have a long way to go but getting there.

I think this puzzle will take me months. Sometimes I listen to It's A New Day on TV or to First Century Foundations on the laptop so I don't feel like I'm totally wasting my time. Sometimes I use this time to think of deeper things in life. But often I'm just trying to look for pieces that match.

Life is like a series of jigsaw puzzles. Individual pieces don't make sense. But as you persevere in putting them together one piece at a time, the picture gets clearer. Whatever the final picture--good or ugly--you always learn something in and from the process.

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