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I Think I Lost Life's Instruction Manual

Finished my vacation home while in quarantine.

All this pandemic stuff abruptly brought the curtain down on my budding career as a stand up comedian.  It also marked the end of hosting out-of-town guests in my home. Like so many others, I've been productive during this time, learning new skills, writing, re-purposing my space, and finishing up projects. Except when I'm not.

I love Legos. I discovered them in 2013, when a farmer and his family came to live with me at my little farmette in NJ. The first week they were there, we were sitting around the breakfast table when little Desmond announced, "Dad, I want to build a Death Star." YIKES! The farmer reassured me that the youngster was not evil. He was talking about Legos. That's right, Star Wars themed Legos. I was hooked.

For those of you who have never done a Lego set, there is no creativity necessary. Like a 3D puzzle with picture instructions, you assemble the predetermined object, whether it's a vehicle, a scene or a building, and Voila! Death Star.

A certain level of concentration is involved, making it a wonderful form of meditation. The creativity doesn't come in until afterwards when you get to play with the thing you've created and the action figures that come with it.

In some ways Legos are very similar to recipes: follow the instructions in a specific order and your outcome will be exactly what is pictured. Someone who knows what they are doing has figured it all out for you in advance. There is something comforting in that.

All of us have mental pictures of future outcomes, whether it's a home, a relationship, a job. We work our plans to bring that image into reality. We are seekers. Who has the instructions? God? Buddha? The mailman? There is stress, disappointment, and finally, a realization that we are settling for something less, or at least different than our dreams.

Perhaps life is a painting, not a puzzle. Despite our best efforts to find the instructions, reality never matches exactly what is on the box. Knowing this now, I have learned not to stress too much about the process, enjoy the ride, and make the best of the adjustment that always follows. Except when I don't.

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