The hallmark of completeness

When you are doing a jigsaw puzzle, do you think of it as a lot of unrelated little bits that somehow have to be fitted together? Or are you watching with interest all the time to see the complete picture appearing? In this latter way the bits go together much more readily, because you are quite sure they belong together. Each bit obviously needs the others, and the picture needs them all.

I once had a resourceful friend whose little girl was having a Christmas party. A strike had prevented the Christmas toys from being delivered in time that year; so the mother tore some pictures out of a magazine, stuck them on pasteboard, and cut them into jigsaw puzzles for the children. Prettily packaged, they did the job perfectly.

This was quite a new angle on jigsaws for me. Starting with the picture made it all so much easier. I began to apply this rule to a lot of other things too. Our own lives sometimes seem to be fragmented, disjointed, and incomplete—rather like a jigsaw. We have some of the bits, but they don't seem to fit. And other bits appear to be missing altogether.

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November 30, 1981

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