A friend I was visiting in another town took me to his place of work which is a large factory that makes jigsaw puzzles. What a fascinating tour that was. I learnt a lot about jigsaw puzzles which I did not know.
The first step in making a jigsaw puzzle is to choose an interesting picture. It could be a countryside scene, an old masterpiece painting, anything really that would fascinate the user and have many varied colours. Have you ever been fascinated? I was ... when very young ... a nurse did it with a needle in my arm.
Anyway, having chosen an appropriate picture the next step is to print it in a pre-set size - the bigger the photo the more jigsaw pieces in the puzzle.
The next stage is cutting the picture into the 500 or so pieces that will make the puzzle. I was taken into a large room where hundreds of people were cutting these pictures with scissors. I was fascinated ... again ... not by a nurse this time. I thought the pictures were cut into shapes by a jigsaw - hence the name. But no ... it was people with scissors cutting all the shapes you find in the box.
Also, did you know that all the shapes in a puzzle are exactly the same? For example, you can buy two puzzles; one with a picture of a seaside scene, and another of a mountain scene. The pieces are exactly the same. So technically, you can finish a puzzle with pieces from either box. It will look a bit like Picasso painted it, but it will be a complete puzzle ... or two puzzles if you use all the pieces from both boxes.
Next stage was packing the puzzles into boxes for you to buy.
This was another large room with lots of people round a huge table. The first man has in front of him a pile of pieces all exactly the same - e.g. the top left corner of the picture. He'd pick up a box and put in it one piece of the puzzle - the top left corner.
He'd hand the box to the next man who would put the second piece of the puzzle in the box - say the top right corner. He'd then pass the box to the next man, (or woman), and so on until all 500 employees have put one piece of their respective bits of the puzzle in the box, which is then sealed and sold to you.
Larger puzzles are packed in bigger rooms with 1000, or more, employees depending on the number of pieces the jigsaw puzzle is made of.
That's why you sometimes finish a puzzle and find a piece missing. That particular employee has failed to put his piece in your box. Either that or he dropped it on the floor.
If you write to the puzzle maker they can identify exactly who the employee is and withold part of his salary as a punishment. Fortunately, not many people complain about a missing piece.
I have just finished a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle.
I have discovered an extra piece in my box. If it is one of yours that you find missing write to me and I'll send it to you. Tell me precisely where in the picture is your missing piece, its shape, and colour or bit of the scenery. I would not want to send you a piece that may well fit your puzzle but be from an entirely different picture. That would certainly spoil your puzzle, and cost me a fortune in postage for no good purpose at all.
You'll soon be ... again.
Life can be a bit like a jigsaw puzzle, you know. Full of doubts, fears, frustrations and confusions … as well as good times too.
If we were to put God right in the middle of our life our jigsaw puzzle would be complete. And what a wonderful picture it would make!