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TITLE: The Jigsaw Puzzle
By Amanda D'costa

The Jigsaw Puzzle is something that occupied my thoughts for a very long time. A lot of ideas surfaced my mind and I have had a time picking out the right thoughts and ideas with which to present this article. Praise God for his inspirations. Its fun delving into the mind and heart of God.
The Jigsaw Puzzle
The gifted craftsman was at work again. This time he was in his workshop, deep in thought, characterising, fashioning, and designing with superb dexterity and vivid imagination, piece after piece of his newest creation. His workshop was massive. Tools of every kind could be seen. Wooden planks, wood bits, wood shavings and iron and metal bits lay at different areas of the room. Here was a craftsman, one of his kind, neat and orderly in his work. His eyes twinkled at the start of this new adventure. This work of art, fashioned and created by the best craftsman the world could ever name; waited to be assembled and exhibited in all its glory.

This was no ordinary jigsaw puzzle. This was a puzzle so well crafted, that each had a name, each had a place and above all, each had an identity. One piece seemed better than the other. Every time a piece was picked up, and placed in the puzzle frame, it seemed to spring forth to life in the world of the jigsaw puzzle.

He seemed to be a slow worker. Yes, slow one might say, but sure and determined in what he had in mind. He fitted a piece on the puzzle board, stood back, made his observations and duly noted its details. This puzzle piece waited anxiously, living a life of solitude. It wondered which piece would be attached to it. Would it be a colourful piece or of a dull hue? Where would it be placed? Would it be to the north or to the south? Or would it be to the east or to the west? Would it be adventurous and fun to be with or a boring neighbour? Such were the thoughts that crossed the mind of this solitary puzzle piece.

After what seemed to be ages, the craftsman decided to place a second piece to the right of the first. One could not doubt the skill with which he fashioned them. They fitted perfectly and seemed to radiate love and life together. He continued to outline his design, placing piece after piece at random places, unfolding a story here or a picturesque scene there, magnificent to behold.

I remember the time when I was younger, in my teens, when we would sit around in the living room of our home in Vypeen, (Kerala, India), trying so hard to complete the 100 piece jigsaw puzzle that we had. It was a picture of The Sydney Opera House, (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia). I always used to find this intriguing. How did jigsaw puzzles come about? Who invented the jigsaw puzzle? In search for some light on the matter, I began my limited quest for the answers behind these questions that gnawed away at my brain, restless until an answer is found. And there, I hit upon the interesting facts, (which in fact was very easy to find, right at my fingertips), and am sure you would be delighted to hear the details.

An Englishman by the name of John Spilsbury in the year 1767, though some say in the year 1760, invented the first jigsaw puzzle.

"For the purpose of teaching geography," John Spilsbury, a teacher (actually a mapmaker) in England, created the first jigsaw puzzle in the year 1767. Adhering his maps to flat hardwood, he used a fine saw to cut along the borders of the European countries, and the jigsaw puzzle was born. Hand-painted and made of wood, the puzzle was a map of England and Wales, with each county making up a separate piece.

Soon, people began making pictorial jigsaw puzzles. Their purpose was to entertain rather than to teach. The pieces in these early puzzles were not interlocking. Not until the invention of power tools more than a century later did jigsaw puzzles with fully interlocking pieces come into being.

In 1880, Milton Bradley made the first jigsaw puzzle for children "The Smashed Up Locomotive." By printing a lithograph of a steam engine locomotive and cutting it into pieces, the "smashed up" effect was achieved when a child opened the box and saw the locomotive all in pieces. Because of his Puritan upbringing, Bradley's nature was to seek order. Therefore, the object of the "The Smashed Up Locomotive" was to make the locomotive whole once again.”
( http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/jigpuzzle.htm )
It was called a jigsaw puzzle as initially it was cut by the fine blade of a jigsaw.
( http://www.answers.com/topic/jigsaw )

Very interesting indeed! Think about it, how often have we thought about these facts? I on the one hand, love playing with jigsaw puzzles. Everything is a mess initially, and I get to be the builder or the re-constructor of my puzzle. I recall the thrill at having found a corner piece or a middle piece that fit in perfectly with other pieces; that satisfaction at having been able to overcome a challenge, that it felt good to both mind and spirit. This fascination that took hold of me years ago, still captivates my mind; still searches for answers beyond just the three dimensional aspects of the puzzle or the inventor behind it. Not seeking out an answer is like an unimaginable disease eating away at my soul that it oozes from the very fact of not finding an answer. But I will not torment you with my thoughts and my quest for enlightenment on this matter. I will take you back to the gifted craftsman I initially started my writing about for he awaits you patiently as always.

His very touch seemed to sprout life to the pieces as he placed them one by one. One could literally hear a story being told about each piece. Listen carefully, lest you miss the interesting parts of the tales that echo from them, but then again, I doubt we miss anything ‘interesting’. Our very nature is to listen to tales being told, true or not, and to magnify it or diminish it as our minds desire.

Let me tell you a story of a little girl somewhere, who set her heart and her dreams far beyond what she could expect. A happy carefree little spirit within, she dared to dream only to be disappointed by reality. Heartbroken, torn between major decisions, she still hopes. The reality of her dreams is just around the bend. She heads on. She hopes. She lives.

A young man in distant lands, grows up in a difficult environment. He seems to be defeated almost always . Inadequate means to make ends meet... Financial stress.... The question of love.... Yet he hopes. Yet he lives.

Somewhere beyond the mountains, there is one who is wealthy, prosperous, full of knowledge of the world and it inhabitants. He thinks he’s found happiness and love only to realize his delusions of wealth and fame are but deceptions to what he longs for. He searches. He hopes. He lives.

Each piece thus reflects the stories of their lives. As this craftsman touch each piece, I realize my life is full of hope, waiting for the next piece of my puzzled life to be fit into place, my story to be told, my life to be lived to the fullest. I have a few pieces set next to me that vibrate with the colours I reflect onto them, and someday, just someday, I might live to recount the whole story of the jigsaw puzzle. My Maker Craftsman is still at work, filing me, painting me, polishing me, his lips curved in that gentle smile that tells me all is at peace. He sets me in his jigsaw puzzle of creation, and my spirit lives. Yes I live.
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