This I Believe

Ryan - Fenton, Missouri
Entered on February 21, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30


I believe in jigsaw puzzles: puppy puzzles, rainforest puzzles, cartoon puzzles, and fish puzzles. They take time to solve and do not come out of the box put together. Every puzzle made is unique and varying in difficulty.

This past Christmas, my parents received a three thousand piece puzzle depicting a cluster of marine life. The puzzle started out as a pile of pieces on the dining room table. At first glance, the towering pile of puzzle pieces seemed like an overwhelming and impossible task. As I went about my daily life, the puzzle began to come together. First the edges were put together. Then part of the coral reef. A couple days would pass and the school of fish would be completed. A few more days and the dolphin’s head was pieced together. Another week went by and the entire underwater ecosystem was complete except for the blue ocean background, where all the pieces were blue and hard to fit together. The puzzle did not complete itself. Before my parents went to bed, they would spend an hour here and an hour there working on the puzzle. Until, at last, the puzzle was finally finished and its picture was revealed.

There are many jigsaw puzzles in life; obstacles that stand between us and our goals, hopes, and aspirations for the future. They are anything from making the varsity basketball team, to graduating from college, to getting that dream job. Every one of these puzzles that we solve is but a section to the largest puzzle of all: life. If someone has the goal of becoming the manager of a company, they are going to start at the bottom and work their way to the top. Putting in countless hours here and countless hours there, until their goal is reached. Once that goal is achieved, that puzzle is completed. What do people do when they finish a puzzle? They start a new one. Some are easier than others, but each plays a part in completing the bigger picture. There are the ten-piece puppy puzzles in life and the five thousand piece rainforest puzzles, but each are important. When all of these small puzzles are completed, you get your life. The puzzle that my parents completed took many hours of concentration and determination to finish. They set a goal to finish the puzzle, and after much work and perseverance, they were able to piece it together. In life you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

A while ago I was watching the Discovery Channel and I saw a special on a man attempting to climb Mr. Everest. But there was a catch. The guy who was trying to climb Everest had two prosthetic legs. It showed his struggles and the troubles that he endured while on the mountain. It was much harder for him to ascend the mountain than those on the expedition with two fully functional legs. He set a goal and was determined to reach it. He did not let his prosthetic legs limit his opportunities. He ended up reaching the summit of Everest, a task which most people with healthy legs could never do. There will always be those times in life when there is a missing piece. It is what you do when you cannot find the missing piece that matters most. Do you turn the house upside down and look under the couch and between the cushions, or do you simply give up? The man in this documentary did anything but give up when he lost his legs. He got down on his hands and knees and found the missing piece. He possesses the strength and determination to achieve anything he wants. This man shows us that anything is possible if we want it badly enough. However, it can go both ways.

Some people choose to look at the puzzle with the missing piece and not do anything about it. These people are those who have gone ten years without a promotion and their aspirations of company manager have long since faded. These people quit and give up when they cannot find the right piece. Which person do you want to be? There are the easy Dr. Suess puzzles in life and the five thousand piece Mona Lisa puzzles in life. It is what you do when you get stumped that defines you as a person. Next time you find yourself stuck and unable to figure out what to do, remember to check between the cushions.