The Threads of Life
Threads have a long history of telling personal stories. History tells us that textiles were the language of the French elite who specialized in visual messaging through their clothing and artwork, choosing colors that declared allegiances and personal relationships. Political and personal statements were stitched into the folds of a skirt or drapes. Threads stated one’s lineage and wealth.
Quilts have a long history of telling the stories of families. My mother made me a double wedding ring quilt as a gift when I was married. It’s the quilt that celebrates unity. Other quilts tell stories of traveling to new places, building a home, celebrating the birth of a child or remembering someone who has passed on. My sister-in-law made a quilt to tell the story of her recovery from breast cancer. Yarn threads are used to create prayer shawls for support and encouragement.
Having personally participated in needlepoint, knitting, embroidery, and sewing everything from clothes to quilts, I have seen threads of every color, weight and style come together beautifully after originally looking like an unorganized mess. Sometimes it is a mess with dropped stitches, knots, crisscrossing threads and frayed edges. It’s a little like life. Our life can be looked at as a tapestry made up of our choices, conversations, unexpected events and the encounters we have throughout our lifetime. There are threads of revelation and inspiration, harmony and discord, togetherness and separateness, unexpected events and family traditions. Not only do we add to our own threads, but every person we have encountered since birth has added a thread to us and us to them. We’re all interconnected.
Today, each of us is an example of the thousands of threads that have come together rich with meaning because of our life experiences. It can be hard to see the big picture when we’re in the middle of a difficult time. Sometimes all we see is knotted and frayed threads that feel like they’re ready to break. This is when we need to be present with our emotions, which represent another thread. When we need to rest and be quiet, our threads are still weaving because we’re nurturing ourselves. Every thread has its purpose and adds to the value of our tapestry.
This is a good time to remind ourselves that life is made up of all different colors, both light and dark. A full, vibrant life contains both joy and sorrow, struggle and celebration. It’s the dark colors and shadows that create perspective and depth for the lighter colors. They give us perspective and depth as well. When our life threads get dark, we need to give ourselves compassion and not lose sight of the big picture. Wayne Dyer wrote, “As I look back on the entire tapestry of my life, I can see from the perspective of the present moment that every aspect of my life was necessary and perfect. Each step actually led to a higher place, even though these steps often felt like obstacles or painful experiences.”
Have you ever looked on the back of a needlepoint or tapestry? It’s a mess, and sometimes it feels like we’re living in that kind of chaos. When we turn it over the beauty of the picture is revealed and it all makes sense. The gorgeous patterns show our Higher Power is an accomplished artist that we can trust.
Our future involves new threads with everchanging colors. We are defining who we choose to be by weaving our tapestries from our guiding principles. Steven Covey wrote, “Principles are deep fundamental truths…. lightly interwoven threads running with exactness, consistence, beauty and strength through the fabric of life.” Our life is a tapestry where every moment adds thread to the masterpiece of our legacy. The beautifully intricate pattern that is ours is made of personal stories. Our unique stories need to be shared because we add to each other’s woven pictures. Let’s support and encourage each other, and embrace every thread knowing it is all part of the magnificent story of who we all are.