Puzzles seem to have a huge appeal among seniors. No doubt, there are folks of all ages that enjoy puzzles but they do seem to be exceptionally popular among my senior friends. At the assisted living, there is always a puzzle in the works – its pieces laid out with care and by design – on the center table. Just this past Sunday, I asked a friend at church (she’s 90) what her plans were for the week and, with excitement, she said she had been given a new puzzle. Puzzles, for me, fall into the category with Sudoku. Much more frustrating than challenging. And certainly not relaxing. Nevertheless, whatever your age or your puzzle completion ability, one thing is true for anyone wanting to finish the puzzle. You have to have the front of the box.
The picture on the front of the box is your goal. The end result for which you are striving. It does not matter if you enjoy working your puzzle for short snippets of time or can pass hours at the table. It does not matter if you prefer to start with just the edges or pick one particular part of the picture to complete first. Or if the puzzle has 500 pieces or 5000 pieces…there has to be the goal. Without the box – and without the goal – the puzzle is nothing more than a pile of pieces. Pieces that make no sense and serve no purpose.
So it is we just about anything of value we hope to accomplish. Personal goals – physical and spiritual ones- and goals for relationships. Goals we have for ministry or for service. We can have good intentions – the best of intentions – and we can even take steps that seem to make small progress but without a genuine, well-envisioned goal, the pieces never really come together.
STOP – these are the beginnings of my thoughts on today’s FMF prompt: GOAL. Goals are helpful. They give us not only direction but also a purpose. Having a goal does not mean that the puzzle will fit together quickly or without effort but it does keep us focused. When tasks or undertakings seem overwhelming or perhaps even useless, look back at the front of the box. Remember the excitement when you began the puzzle. Then continue to “press toward the mark” – to the goal – one puzzle piece at a time.