I was rummaging through the marked down items at the local Kmart this morning. You can find some good items that have been designated to this forlorn trolley. There is nothing like the euphoria of finding a discount. The interesting thing I found this morning was a 750 piece jigsaw puzzle. The box had obviously been opened, and the markdown sticker on the box said “1 piece missing”. The price was .51 cents. Not very exciting I know, but, there were so many unanswered questions that intrigued me.
Now, I quite like jigsaws, I have several and occasionally pull one out. I was intrigued by the jigsaw. Firstly, how did they KNOW there was a piece missing??? Did they get some teenage casual Saturday employee to count the pieces?? Did they get same employee to actually put the jigsaw together to find out?? But, why would they say there was a piece missing if they didn’t know there was? How did they KNOW!!! This led to other questions such as HOW did the box get opened in the first place? The box was in good physical shape, no obvious signs of breakage. It wasn't an item that people open the packaging so they can see the product...it's a jigsaw, pretty straight forward. Did someone buy the jigsaw and after excitedly getting it home and completing it, find that there was one piece missing and angrily returned it for a refund? Too many questions with no answers.
I felt compelled to buy the jigsaw. I wanted to take it home and put it together to see if there really WAS a piece missing. I felt challenged. I wanted Kmart to be wrong. I wanted to say “Hah! You don’t know what you are on about. Do you think we believe everything you tell us?” It didn’t bother me that there was one piece missing. I have several others the same but that fact doesn’t detract the enjoyment I get when doing the puzzle. You can still complete the puzzle, and one piece missing is fine with me. When you get two or three, then it becomes a different story.
So, I bought the puzzle. 1000 Islands, the box said – which I Googled, and found that they are an archipelago of islands that straddle the Canadian-US border and quite possibly the area that 1000 Island dressing is named after. The picture, a man in a boat on a river in front of a stately manor was pleasant enough. I momentarily wondered if the missing piece was his face, but decided I didn’t care.
I returned home, set up my jigsaw board (yes, I have a board for jigsaws) and began sorting pieces. All the edge pieces were present, a bonus. As I sorted pieces and started to put together the boat, I reflected on the similarities between the jigsaw, and my life.
Overall the picture was pleasant enough, but the darker parts were a struggle, trying to pick the right bits, trying piece after piece to fit. I was becoming frustrated, angry and disheartened when I couldn’t get the picture to work.
Other parts were a breeze, the picture coming together easily and with little effort which left me feeling elated and confident even though I knew I had harder areas that I had to work out and complete. Through all this there was the thought in the back of my mind...I’m missing a piece. Light bulb moment! Just like the jigsaw, I have for some time now...been...missing a piece. I don’t know what the piece is, and I don’t know what the piece is for, or where it is missing from, I just know it isn’t there and I struggle sometimes to make the picture work. Forever searching for the missing piece that would make me feel whole.
An interesting point (well, interesting to me, maybe not so much to you) when I was doing my matriculation, one of my subjects was art. One of my friends asked me to do a painting for him. My work was abstract, so, my idea, and my final painting was called “The Jigsaw Of Life”. The canvas was painted as a jigsaw, with different colours representing the different experiences we are subject to in life. Some pieces were bright, some dark, some light, some horrible – the same as life experiences are for each of us. There was one piece missing, and this was cut in card, painted black, and stuck on top of the canvas...representing death...the final piece. I gave the painting to my friend as a gift. I always wondered where it now lays.
I don’t feel that my missing piece is death. That is the ultimate “last piece” and one I don’t wish to find for some time yet. But there is some aspect of my life that is missing, and I feel an essential, deep, longing need to find what it is. I endlessly sift through the emotional parts in my life box, hoping to come across the elusive, integral piece that will make my life complete and whole, and finally complete the puzzle which is my life.
I finished the jigsaw. There was one piece missing.