, Corbin, KY


January 13, 2014

The missing piece of the puzzle

CORBIN — This past Christmas, my wife, Carmen, and I visited my mother and that side of the family Christmas night.

When we arrived, we found my brother and my mother working on a 1000-piece Beauty and the Beast puzzle.

Carmen and I packed in the gifts we brought and got settled, but it wasn’t long before we got involved with the puzzle, as well.

In between scarfing down finger foods and punch, and visiting with my stepsisters, we would find ourselves going back to the puzzle seeing if there was just one more piece we could fit in somewhere.

I had not worked a puzzle in years, but this one got us hooked.

Due to our work schedules, we had to get back to Corbin so we couldn’t stay long enough to see the puzzle completed. But just a couple days later, Carmen went out and bought a 1000-piece Little Mermaid puzzle for us to do at our place.

Of course we had all of the snow and freezing temperatures to deal with the past couple weeks, so huddling around a puzzle in the warmth of our own home turned out to be a lot of fun.

However, at our house, we have a couple of indoor hazards we had to deal with while putting together this puzzle — an 11-year-old cat, Lexie, and a 7-month-old puppy, Skipper.

Lexie, who gets terrorized by Skipper’s playfulness, sometimes seeks refuge on table tops and countertops in our house. And Skipper will eat or chew on anything that falls in the floor.

Needless to say, we had to do our best to keep Lexie off the table so that none of the pieces would end up in the floor — and in to Skipper’s mouth.

From the best we could tell, we had gotten about three-fourths of the puzzle complete with no signs of puzzle-piece casualties.

But on the next day, tragedy struck.

I walked over to our living room couch and found a little piece of something that had clearly been mangled by the puppy. Upon a closer look, I realized that little piece of something was a chewed up piece of our puzzle.

Carmen and I both became disappointed because we knew there was no way to really have the puzzle complete. But we finished it anyway and even found the spot where the puzzle piece would have fit in before it was treated like a rawhide.

There was a slight empty feeling though as we knew the puzzle wasn’t as complete as it could have been.

I believe this is how we can feel about our relationship with God sometimes.

We can seem to have it all together but there might be just one little thing that keeps us away from truly being fulfilled by Christ.

Perhaps we attend church every week, we offer our tithes when the offering plate rolls around and we participate actively in the choir. But there still might be that one thing you’re not doing that leaves you feeling a little empty and separated from God.

Maybe you aren’t praying and spending time talking to God enough. Or maybe you aren’t spending enough time in God’s Word.

James 4:17 tells us, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”

Just like that one little piece made our puzzle feel incomplete, we need to find that one little thing in our lives that makes our relationship with God incomplete.

Brad Hall is the nighttime editor for the Times-Tribune. He can be reached at You can also visit his blog at

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