Fifteen Pound Puzzle Pieces

Me with my pavers, after my back healed and I could smile while near them.

I purchased the two dozen or so paving stones after seeing the ad on Craig’s List. Molded from concrete, they were of two sizes, medium and large (or, more accurately, heavy and heavier, the heavier ones weighing at least fifteen pounds each). All the large pieces were of the same irregular amoeba-like shape; the medium sized pieces shared the same shape as the other pieces their size.

You would think it would have been a simple matter to fit these concrete jigsaw pieces into a single concrete pad. It was not. For one thing, I didn’t know which of the two sides of each stone should face up. I have never really enjoyed putting jigsaw puzzles together, so hefting fifteen pound and ten pound puzzle pieces got old quickly. Two hours later, through perseverance and the arrival of my wife, who enjoys jigsaw puzzles much more than I do and gave me some much needed direction, the task was finally finished.

The next morning I returned to the completed concrete puzzle to level each piece by tucking some additional sand underneath here and there. I lifted the first piece. My back muscles, which had not complained loudly from the previous day’s exertion, suddenly spasmed in a painful, paralyzing stab of pain; they had had enough!

I lay there on my side, immobilized by pain, when my wife came out of the house (per my previous request to take a picture of me and the project). She quickly decided to forgo the photo shoot (though, in retrospect, it would have made a very interesting picture) and ran over to me with great concern on her face. Eventually she helped me to my feet, and I hobbled into the house.

The whole project took much longer with much more pain than I had anticipated. What else is new? A great many endeavors in life take long and can involve pain that we hadn’t anticipated. Ever since the first man Adam sinned and God warned him he would have to accomplish things by the sweat of his brow, we humans have had a difficult time of getting anything done.

This is just the way it is, and is going to be. Being successful at a job or career takes work. Couples may “fall” in love (“falling” takes no effort at all), but they will have to work hard to stay in love. Overcoming a problem, an addiction, or difficulty will take considerable time and effort.

You and I know this, but I’m thinking we still need to be reminded of this fact on a regular basis, and this is one of those times. That’s why I decided to share my episode of putting together the concrete puzzle pieces.

“We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; (The apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:12)

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