Life in Pieces…..of the puzzle


(Puzzle piece created at our nephew’s wedding)

For many of us, at some point or another in your life you ask what your purpose in life is, why are you here? For most people who have children that question is answered with their first born. You realize that it’s no longer all about you, your wants and your needs. It’s now about raising a loving, caring, compassionate, and capable person. And sometimes, even with all of your best efforts, examples, teachings and sacrifices, it doesn’t always go the way you would like or had hoped for.

For those of us who were never blessed with children the answer to the question of our purpose in life is harder to answer, if not almost impossible. When I ponder that question I first view life as a puzzle, one with a lifetime of moments, experiences, relationships, trials, and tribulations that each make up a piece of life’s puzzle.

So as I progress in my blogging experience I have come to catalog my life in singular experiences, moments, and relationships, individual pieces of life’s puzzle, that when taken together as a whole begin to create a picture that is uniquely mine, while simultaneously creating a unique picture piece for those individuals with which I interact. Thus my piece of the puzzle also has a place in someone else’s puzzle of life. (At this point of the blog I’m not sure if I’m playing 3 dimensional chess or going down a rabbit hole!)

For years my wife and I focused on spending time with our parents, everything from dining out, to family gatherings and vacations. For the longest time it was the six of us and we were content with that. We knew we would have a hole in our hearts when they were gone, but we never realized what a hole would be left in our lives when they passed.


(Parent’s Night at Rosalie’s Cucina in Skaneateles)

We also spent a lot of time with our nieces and nephews, everything from school plays, concerts & sporting events, to our annual boy’s & girl’s night vacations. And now we’re starting to experience the same with their children, our great-nieces & nephews.


(Great-nephew James after ice cream)

The pieces of the puzzle filling in around our family are all of our friends, some of which have been with us since the beginning, while others have come and gone, filling a unique purpose at the time. I once read that friends are a gift that we give ourselves, and I could not agree more!


(Celebrating our Anniversary with friends in Key West)

So, I can’t speak for my wife, but as I look at my purpose in life, I have realized that I’m here to add pieces not only to my life’s puzzle, but to life’s puzzle in general, and to help others fill in their puzzle where otherwise there might be missing pieces. And sometimes the pieces I create fit pretty well, where as others not so much. I don’t think life’s puzzle has smooth edged pieces which delineate the outer most pieces and provide a framework, but instead consists of smooth and jagged pieces, depending on the life experience involved.

And if there is no outer framework, how do we know where the pieces go, especially when they don’t always fit perfectly, and how do we hold them all together? For me, it’s Faith. It’s believing in a God that knows not only where the pieces will fit, but what pieces should be created in the first place. Now, I may not always agree with the creation of certain pieces of the puzzle, but I can’t see or envision the whole picture as God sees it, so I just have to have Faith that everything will come together for a reason, and as it should.

I remember questioning how it was that Chloe, our Bernese Mtn. Dog, came to be THE dog in our life, especially after years of my wife saying no to having a dog. What was it about this one dog that she said yes to? And why, after having Chloe for a year and I was ready to give up on her and give her to another family, that my wife said absolutely not, Chloe is family?

That question was answered one night at my father’s nursing home. Chloe had been there many times visiting with Dad, and so I stopped with Chloe in the car after a late night at the office because Dad was in his final days and I made a point of stopping to see him every day. Being it was so late I commanded Chloe to stay in the car while I went up to see him. Dad was having a particularly difficult & painful night, so I was there longer than usual. At one point I excused myself and told Dad that I would be right back as I had to give Chloe a break. I let Chloe out of the car, she did her business, and as we approached the car she pulled hard on her leash towards the nursing home, and refused to get back into the car. I tried to argue with her and ordered her back into the car, but instead she pulled me towards the entrance of the nursing home and would not take no for an answer. We took the elevator to the sixth floor, and when the doors opened Chloe pulled me down the hallway towards Dad’s room, and once she was thru his door she relaxed her stance, went over to his bedside and gently licked his outstretched hand. And for a few moments Dad’s pain was minimized as he stroked her fur and she returned the favor with her gentle kisses. She then laid on the floor between his bed and my chair, and stayed there until we left to go home. It was the last time Dad saw Chloe, and it was at that moment that I realized why we had this dog, and the relevance of her piece to the overall puzzle of life.

My point is, we don’t always know why certain pieces are given to us, or necessarily what to do with them, but they are there for a reason, and though we may not know what to do with them at the moment, they will eventually fit into place when & where the time presents itself.

So yes, my purpose in life is a puzzle to me, literally and figuratively. And I’m not sure that we’re ever meant to finish the puzzle, but at some point the time comes when we pass from this earth and we stop adding to it. My only hope is that in my rush to experience my pieces of life that I have not overlooked, or worse yet, lost any pieces to my puzzle, and that my pieces of life add to all of those individuals that I connect with and am blessed to know and love.

Now that I think about it, it sounds to me like I just might be playing 3 dimensional chess IN a rabbit hole with this particular blog!!


(“Did someone say rabbit hole?”)

Author: commonmanthoughts57

Living a common life with my exceptionally uncommon wife, who was the girl next door, and is the love of my life.

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