I am not a fan of puzzles. Taking a perfectly good image, cutting it into one hundred or more tiny pieces and then trying to reconstruct it feels like a frustrating waste of time. But last weekend, I was selling books at a local Grange hall with my 9-year-old son, Asher, when one of the organizers kindly offered us a puzzle of a shiny green frog.
I was helping at my children’s school last Friday, when one of the first graders raced up to me, arms open wide, and gave me a hug. Then she thrust a piece of paper into my hands. “I LOVE YOU!” said the giant, red words with a picture of a smiling girl underneath.
“This is for me?” I asked, surprised.
Grinning, she nodded.
When the zipper pull for the cotton cover on our living-room futon broke, I didn’t know what to do. It was a minor problem. The rest of the cover was in good shape, but without a zipper, the cover bulged and flapped and slipped off the couch. It looked awful. Sewing on a new zipper wasn’t an option. For one, where do you buy a zipper that long? For another, replacing zippers is above my expertise. I considered gluing on a giant Velcro strip but settled on snaps. About 40. It took several hours to sew them all on. Some didn’t quite match. But with a little tugging and tucking, I got the cover back in place and it looked good. Until I sat down.
Little inspired me to plant a vegetable garden this year. The spring air seemed abysmally cold. I’d waited too long to start my seedlings indoors. And each day I looked out my kitchen window at my little plot of soil, the weeds stood taller. But I had a choice: Spend all summer watching the weeds grow taller or get out there and do something.
The holidays are before us. The electricity is back on after last week’s powerful storm. And yet my heart is grieving. Saturday night, my family stood outside clapping and shouting “Thank you!” to the line and tree workers who reconnected us with the world. But the next day that same connection brought news of 26 worshipers shot dead in a Texas church.