Friday, November 20, 2009
Olim therapy, for $6 and under
Piece by (painstaking, gut wrenching, life sucking) piece it’s all coming together. No, I’m not talking about aliyah, I’m talking about an actual puzzle that my husband and I have been spending day and night obsessively trying to complete. I haven’t been this engrossed in something recreational since the last Harry Potter book came out. This is no ordinary puzzle. It is a 750 piece, 26 inch jigsaw with one basic image that is repeated over and over again. Our puzzle contains a field with a bunch of flags – the SAME flags. My husband dug it out a few nights ago. He thought it would be a fun activity for the boys. Ha! It was a matter of moments before the boys figured out to stay away from the puzzle monster and mom and pop took over. Every night, and sometimes in the middle of the day we were drawn to this thing and determined to get it all together. It occurred to me that it was a great kind of Aliyah therapy that I highly recommend for anyone who has dismantled a well established life and is trying to re-erect it on a much rockier terrain. As we wait and work to get the pieces of our lives into some kind of picture that makes sense, we find comfort in engaging a puzzle that we actually can complete. Much like our aliyah, we began the puzzle with no idea how difficult it could actually be. There were times when one of us was doing great, connecting several pieces in one moment, while the other fumbled frustratingly for minute after long minute with no answers in sight. Then it would switch and the self sufficient puzzle maker would lose all confidence in her abilities while the other would thrive. We would support each other in those difficult moments, thankful that our ‘down’ moments did not correlate or we may have given up the venture all together. Then there were times when we were sure there was a mistake. Surely, the manufacture had forgotten to include all of pieces necessary inside the box. These were our moments of doubt, which only faith could pull us through. Every morning, the kids would run down the stairs to see the progress that we made. Sometimes we would share their joy, and other times bemoan that after all the hard work, not enough progress was made. Finally, after many nights that turned into early morning hours, and right before Shabbat we completed the puzzle. We were beside ourselves with joy and satisfaction. We are still trying to figure out how to glue it together without it falling apart and have decided to leave it on our dining table for Shabbat. It is our celebrated centerpiece. Only now it has occurred to me that perhaps this puzzling journey has only begun. The whole time we were doing this, it was such an obvious symbolism of our aliyah, but one part of the symbol just didn’t fit. The flags on the puzzle are American flags. So here I’m thinking that as I am putting this puzzle together, it’s symbolic of my life coming together in Israel, only the American flags kept getting in the way. It kind of ruined my neat little analogy. Yet now I understand the following: I need to dismantle the puzzle that I just worked so hard to complete. That’s right – totally take it apart. If I can do that and buy a new puzzle – one with Israeli flags, and find the strength to begin a whole new puzzle, then I will have truly reenacted my aliyah. So, I guess we will be moonlighting this week as well. Because if I can do this, then I can know with confidence that my life here in Israel will also come together, piece by piece.