Recently, my wife brought home a small puzzle. It was about a hundred pieces in all, rather small and not terribly easy. She got it, initially, to ease some of the stress she was feeling due to a medical condition that led to panic attacks that has since been fairly alleviated. On that day, I came home and found her working on the puzzle. Already she had a fair amount of the edges completed, though she was struggling a bit. She asked if I wanted to join her in putting it together.
To be sure, I am not one for puzzles. I have done a few in my younger years. Since then I have grown to find them rather tedious. You put the thing together, toiling for hours and enjoying frustration as you wonder if some of the pieces are missing. Later on you take it apart and put it back in the box, storing it in the drawer of forgotten enterprises. Regardless of my feelings I sat down and started working on it.
As we put that puzzle together we were forced into close proximity. Often, our hands would collide as we reached for pieces or to test a piece for where it might go. We would also compare pieces as we discussed the puzzle’s difficulty. The puzzle, though small, was completed in a manner of days. No, we didn’t work on it continuously. We have jobs that leave us tired, and assembling a puzzle is not something that eases fatigue. Sometimes it adds to it.
Regardless of how I regard puzzles, I must admit to getting something pretty wonderful out of it. That close proximity, our bumping of hands, and discussion of pieces and where they went, got us to talking during a time we might otherwise be watching television, or reading, or playing games. And though our backs suffered a bit, we did not. In fact, we had a terrific time connecting in a manner somewhat different than usual.
We have since gotten a few more puzzles. The one we are about to start has two hundred pieces. I suspect it will lead to a few more hours of bumping hands as we talk and laugh. Really, it’s an amazing way to connect, and I am very much looking forward to it.