My life is but a weaving between my God and me
I do not choose the colors he worketh steadily.
Oft times he chooseth sorrow and I in foolish pride
forget He sees the upper, and I the underside.
Not til the loom is silent and shuttles cease to fly
will God unroll the canvas and explain the reason why
the dark threads are as needful in the skillful weaver's hand
as the ones of gold and silver in the pattern he has planned.
I was given that poem (author unknown) in a simple black frame some years ago from a long-ago high school boyfriend. We had maintained sparse contact over the years since he and his family moved out of the area but spent several hours one evening on the telephone catching up. There had been a time in both our lives when we were sure we would get married one day. There were other family members who were just as convinced.
Nice fellow. Handsome. Smart, funny. Good, solid family. Shared values. Mutual attraction, same interests and hobbies. He taught me to water ski; we refinished furniture together. Off and on for years, we would date, he'd break up with me, we'd date, he'd break up with me. Once, he called me long distance to propose, which may have been the proverbial straw. (To guys reading this who want to get an affirmative answer from their ladies: show up and do it in person. Just saying.)
The last time we broke up, I broke up with him and called him about a year later to tell him I was engaged. To someone else, a very different man then, a little older, a lot quieter. We went to the same church but had little in common --not that we really knew that then. We hardly knew each other! But we both had a gut-level knowing that we were meant to marry.
So when High School Boyfriend and I talked for hours, there was no wistful wishing we had taken the same road, but appreciation for the fact that our lives had progressed, apart, the ways in which they had. Married with kids, he had built a business and made it a priority to be the kind of dad he'd longed for growing up. Married with kids years ahead of him, ours were grown. I was a grandmother already. My husband and I had buried a son; High School had buried both parents.
There were times over the years, he told me, that he had grieved the loss of our relationship, but finally came to the conclusion that God had been at work through everything. He had focused on the tangled thread on the underside of the tapestry of his life and only glimpsed at the beauty of the intricately woven scene on the other side much later. Even the sorrow of lost loved ones -- whether lost through the choice of someone else through a break-up or divorce or door closed on a friendship...or the separation of death-- added, in the final analysis, to the final pattern. He had read a poem about it and said to look for a copy in the mail.
No one loses a friend or a love without wondering, from time to time, how life might be different now, but for things that happened or did not happen in the past. In the case of our high school romance, both the young man and I came to see that while we'd thought Plan A was (at the time) an excellent prospect, Plans B and C far surpassed it. Or maybe THIS is Plan A, and we came perilously close to missing it. Whatever. None of us is living the final version of our lives at any given point, anyway. There will be still many, many changes over time. Some will be sad, others will be ecstatic. We are each "in process" until our final breath.
The point is, as someone once said, don't "should on yourself." The shouldda, wouldda, coulddas of life will eat you alive, making it impossible to enjoy what you have now. We can relax and rely on one of the greatest promises of the Bible, found in Jeremiah 29:11-14a:
"For I know the plans I have for you,”
declares the LORD,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me,
and I will listen to you.
You will seek me and find me
when you seek me with all your heart.
I will be found by you,”
declares the LORD.
Please note that it is the LORD who knows his plans -- not anyone else He is almost always annoyingly reticent to share his plans ahead of time. He asks us to trust him, to trust his love and his character, his sovereignty and his abilities, his mercy and his grace. It's not a bad arrangement: we trust the Creator of the universe to have a clue about what he's doing, we seek him rather than trying to run the show, and he delivers out of his own greatness. A good return on our investment of faith, wouldn't you agree?
I know -- life rarely resembles the Hallmark quality of the poem up there There is unspeakable and unspoken pain all along the way. A wife may suffer in silence for years before finding the courage to break away from an abusive husband. A child may grow up in anguish because of the neglect displayed. Betrayals and tragedies and addictions hold nothing of the perky hopefulness that poem conjures up.
This life is just a breath. Two seconds, twenty seconds, hardly more, compared with eternity. And look at all the moments of joy and love we can cram into such a tiny slice of existence! Of course, there are hiccups and tears, no even flow of happiness. But we can trust that even then, laughter will work its way back to us again. We aren't stuck with this particular dark thread in the shuttle forever.
|Randy with Randy III fishing|
P.S. I am very grateful for the "thread" in my own tapestry that is my son-in-law Randall Keith Blanchard, Jr. Today is his birthday, and I don't even want to think about what our lives would be without him in ours. Happy birthday, Randy! We love you very much.