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I spent the better part of an unplanned personal day puzzling with my Dad, one of his favorite pastimes. It seems we often had a table commandeered by a puzzle while I was growing up. I remember him standing, looking over the pieces for the longest time and then picking up a piece and putting it right in its place. At 86, he is slower these days, but still just as determined to complete the puzzle. On this particular day, we set up the puzzle outside on the patio table with a giant umbrella so he can enjoy the mild summer weather since he seems to need his cardigan all the time. Several times yesterday, the cardigan came off and he stood up to get a better view, signs of a win for me.
This puzzle box was a beautiful village scene with a stone arched bridge, multi-colored rooftops, tiny boats anchored and a colorful blur of train on the arched bridge in I’m guessing Europe somewhere; it was quite idyllic looking from the puzzle maker’s viewpoint. I am sure there is worry and strife down there in this perfect little town under this amazing arched bridge, but that is not the view we were seeing. This viewpoint drew you in and made you notice all the details of this little village, wondering what it would be like to visit this unnamed place.
As we sat there listening to an eclectic bluegrass playlist, but mostly sitting in conversational silence, we started to chat about how the train in its hurry to make its schedule wasn’t even able to enjoy the scene the puzzle photographer had captured for us. As Dad quoted a familiar lyric from his favorite old television show, HeeHaw, “pthhht, you were gone” . It got me to thinking about what am I missing in my daily walk? How many times every day do I whiz right by the beauty the Creator had put out for me to enjoy? How often do I think I am too busy to pray or too busy to read my Bible? How many times do I quickly walk by someone that needed encouragement if I had only stopped to ask? If we are truly living out the grace we have been given thru the gift of Christ, am I living in that mindset?
It all left me appreciating that I had been given a day to play with Dad, to just sit with him and enjoy him.
His short visits are sweet and often full of family and the simpler things, they always seem to fly by.
He is so different these days than my first remembrances of him, when I used to say I would grow up and marry him, but he is still every bit my hero and role model. I have taken to hash tagging his pictures on Instagram with #cutestmaninmyworld as there was no other name more fitting.
Traveling without ever leaving home, that is what a mental change of direction does for me. And yes, unlike life, puzzles will always look like the box they came out of, so even though there are no surprises there; I still loved the exercise of the search and the pleasure of popping in the piece on the first try. Just like my dad taught me.
Contributed by Teri W.
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