Dot to dot dilemma

Originally published October 2008 in the Dickinson County News

Not long ago, I was sitting in the back seat of an SUV between two young sisters for a seven-hour road trip to the beach.

The girls, of course, had plenty of activities to keep them busy, and I was glad to take a mental voyage back to the time of coloring books, stuffed animals, and My Little Ponies.

About two hours into the trip, a new activity book came out of the backpacks, and I watched as my young friends started doing the dot to dot puzzles.

Somewhere in my days of growing up, I had forgotten all about dot to dot puzzles. You remember them, right? They are those puzzles where you draw a line from the 1 to the 2, the 2 to the 3, and so on until a recognizable picture appears.

I was telling my co-worker Caroline about this lapse in memory last week. She said dot to dot puzzles were never her thing because she could always see the picture before connecting the dots.

I know that was true when I looked at the puzzles too. I believe my parents even found me a dot to dot challenge book once to see if I liked it better. If I remember right, the puzzles went up into the hundreds – and the picture was indeed much more difficult to see before actually connecting the dots.

As my mind works, I started thinking about these dot to dot puzzles in terms of life and symbolism. Some of us seem to see the big picture so easily, without even feeling the need to connect the dots.

Sometimes life is simple and the dots seem to connect themselves. Sometimes life is challenging, and we need to sit down and take the time to tie everything together.

The big picture might appear, but it’s a clearer image if we take the time to notice the details.

What kind of dot to dot puzzle is your life? And what picture does it make when all the dots are connected?