During the COVID-19 pandemic my husband and I worked on a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle. It took us about five weeks to complete and I noticed how similar puzzle assembling is to life.

Create boundaries and structure:

When doing a puzzle, it helps to put together the outer frame or border first (every puzzle-doer knows this). In life, we create structure with what we have, while many “pieces” are left to be solved later.

Find time for relaxed leisure:

Some days we only put a few pieces in their places. And other days I couldn't pull myself away from the project. Either way, it was okay. Similarly, during the past weeks of the pandemic, life slowed down, and it felt just fine. We could ease up on the pressure of our to-do lists. We literally have nowhere to go!

Keep an eye on the big picture:

We kept sending our adult children photos of the in-progress puzzle, knowing the big picture would ultimately reveal itself. In life, so often the details are unknown, but we have faith that there is a big picture. Things seem like a jumble, yet we trust that the end result will be a beautiful picture which will perhaps help us understand the opportunities for growth.

Use trial and error:

Some of the pieces were odd shapes and colors and others, more obviously belonged in certain places. We dealt with each one by either eyeballing the piece and deciding where it could possibly match up to color or shape-wise, or by just trying out several options until one worked. Sometimes it's a matter of trial and error, in puzzles and in life.

Piece by piece:

The only way to do a puzzle is one piece at a time. At any given moment, we interlock one piece into the other. Each match brings us closer to finishing the entire puzzle.

My husband and are still home alone; we already have our sights on the next puzzle. It will arrive in a couple weeks (or more!), and then will take us a few weeks (or more!) to complete. But no problem; we have all the time these days.