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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Personal Peace (06/01/06)

TITLE: Puzzle Piece
By Allison Egley


Steve stared at the puzzle pieces, trying to pass the time. The minutes dragged on as he waited for the word. The message he could receive at any time could change his and his family’s life forever. Steve's life certainly felt like this puzzle right now. The box long gone, and the pieces stored in a plastic bag, Steve didn’t even know what the final picture would be. Some pieces were almost broken, worn by years of use. Some of the individual pieces, Steve realized, looked downright ugly. The seconds dragged into minutes, the minutes into hours, and the hours into days. Each day Steve returned to his personal prison, wondering if today was the day he would discover his and his family’s fate.

Steve once again began working on the puzzle. He had been working for days now, hardly noticing the picture that was forming and now nearly complete. Steve realized that a sense of peace was beginning to settle in on his heart, even though he knew not the outcome of the momentous decisions that had to be made. The different scenarios ran through his head. Some made him laugh with relief, others made him cry in despair. Steve was startled by the sound of a deep voice.

“Mr. Landof? You may come in now. The jury has made their decision,” the court official said.

Steve put the last piece of the puzzle he could find into place before he walked into the courtroom. He sat down on the wooden bench, trying to prepare himself for the words he was about to hear.

“We the jury find the defendant guilty on all charges. We recommend the death sentence for Mr. Landoff.”

Steve cried out, “No! No! He didn’t do it! Not my son. Not my son!”

He looked longingly at his son, Stephen, as he was led away in handcuffs. Stephen winked at his dad three times. Steve had to smile. He still remembered the sign they had developed for “I love you” during his teenage years, when actually saying “I love you” to your dad was a sin in his social circles.

As Steve exited the courtroom, he couldn’t help but notice the nearly completed puzzle sitting on the table in the adjacent waiting room. There were a few pieces missing, but the mountain scene was unmistakable. Then it hit Steve. The sense of peace he had felt before he entered the courtroom was slowly returning. Although he didn’t have all the pieces, and he didn’t see the complete picture for his life or his son’s, he had a peace that everything would piece together. Even the ugly pieces came together to form a beautiful picture. The mountain reminded Steve of the many triumphs in Stephen’s life, both big and small: Stephen learning to walk and talk, the first day of school, graduating as valedictorian of his high school class. The river surrounding the mountain crashed over boulders in some places, then turned calm, reminding him of events that seemed overwhelming, but worked out in time. Stephen would certainly be a witness to his fellow prisoners. Even if no one else believed the defense’s story of “wrong place, wrong time,” Steve knew that Stephen would never denounce his faith, or lose his incredible sense of peace. Now, thanks in part to hundreds of pieces in a plastic bag, neither would Steve.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Virginia Gorg06/08/06
Interesting article, with an underlying message. I like the analogy of the jigsaw puzzle. You fit the pieces of this together nicely.
Sue Goodreau06/10/06
This piece was quite good. It was well-written and creative. I really liked the paralleling of the puzzle and the picture it made with Steve and Stephen's life. Good insight. A fine job!
Tabiatha Tallent06/12/06
I really enjoyed your story. I'm so glad that God can give us peace in these types of situations.
Jan Ackerson 06/12/06
I really like the parallels, too, between the puzzle and this man's life. A few little details bothered me, though--would a person be able to assemble a large jigsaw puzzle in a courthouse? And the penalty phase of a trial is not done at the same time as the criminal trial. Still, with a few details smoothed out, your story is inspiring and full of hope.
dub W06/12/06
Pretty good stuff, like was said above, there is some difficulty with the legal aspects (I am married to an attorney). But, a mostly enjoyable read.
Marilyn Schnepp 06/13/06
Very creative! Interesting read and one that is not easy to forget. Thank you for sharing.
Anita Neuman06/14/06
Welcome back, Allison! Great story - great analogy.