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Building the world – one piece at a time

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Have you ever walked by something in a store, there was no intention to buy anything, but as soon as you saw it, you knew you had to have it. You take it to the counter but have not seen the price because the price does not matter because you just have to have it. Well, that happened to me in the store and some might think it was an outfit or a device. No, for me it was a puzzle…yes a 1,000 piece puzzle. It was a puzzle of the world, but not a globe or map, but rather photo images of far off places.

I looked at the box and started to see these destinations. I counted and there were 45 distinct photos of temples, structures and iconic landmarks. I have been to 21 of the 45 images and started to relive some of my trips while standing there. But then your mind wanders, what about the Grand Canyon, Hawaii’s active volcano or Angkor Wat? So many iconic and majestic places that were not in the picture. I opened up the puzzle box and dropped the pieces on an empty table, steadied the box and began looking at the pieces in a mound. Slowly, turning pieces over and studying them. At this point, my world was in pieces and there was no assemblance of order.

There were shades of sky, water, or parts of buildings. Slowly, you see a piece and it looks like a part of Petra, so you put it aside approximately where you think it belongs. Then, start looking for that rusty crimson shade of pieces that might go along with it. One or two pieces start to materialize because I am concentrating on that shade. But then something catches my eye, a piece that might be the Golden Temple and you go in a different direction. Slowly segments start organically forming and you have parts but still they are not together and separated. Eventually, a piece emerges that connects the Kremlin to the Yukon and it becomes a segment that starts to take shape and we start better appreciating how it all fits together.

Over time and persistence, the partial images gain more surface and connection to the neighboring pieces. More and more, the Kremlin now connects not only to Canada, but to Italy and Thailand and the section grows and grows. Eventually, and over time, there are only about 50 pieces left and you start looking at the world with a much broader eye and how these pieces all fit in. With that last piece, you triumphantly place it in the lone empty spot and it wound up being a random piece of forest around the Great Wall of China. Eventually, the single scattered pieces around all have a place and you wind up with a completed picture of the places around the world.

I guess the significance of all this is that our life and world is like that 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle except the only differences are that in reality, there is no box cover and we are given a jigsaw puzzle of billions, perhaps trillions, of pieces and somehow we have to make the pieces fit. Unfortunately, in the world, countries are building their sections but don’t want to connect to their neighboring places or don’t want to share what might help build the world and puzzle into a more complete picture. We have always struggled with this and maybe somehow, we need to see the bigger picture to realize how fragile the world is that our world will not be complete if we all don’t pull together and start working together. Instead of competition, how about we replace it with collaboration. We provide a real helping hand to help places complete their sections but to support them and don’t go in to try to make our pieces fit their area..it just won’t fit that way. We need to stop trying to change the pieces of other places to what our pieces are.

Building this puzzle interested me because I have visited many places and I enjoyed patiently pulling this all together and reliving the adventures I have had, but while building it, it made me think of our world. I think we have to start pulling our pieces together and seeing how they fit, because we all fit this puzzle we call our world. I guess this is part of the reason I carry puzzle pieces with me where ever I go…to remind people how connected we are and without them, the puzzle is never going to be complete.


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