Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tapestry: A shift of view

A friend of mine shared a thought one day that blew me away. It touched me so deeply that I’ve passed it on to others who were hurting or grieving. It’s one of those moments you can’t help but share. Before I tell you what he said, I need to explain what led up to it.

I had just called the hospital to ask for my girlfriend’s room number. Dee had been admitted the day before, and I figured I would pop over during my lunch break and surprise her. But after I told the woman at the hospital why I was calling, her cheerful voice changed. It’s then that I learned Dee had died just a few hours before.

I was in shock. I couldn’t believe she was gone, and I went to share the news with my editor, Jim McClure, a man of deep faith. Jim and I have talked a lot over the years about my many losses. Mom. Dad. Sister. Brother-in-law. Pastor. Other family members and friends. The list, sadly, is too long to count.

He listened quietly like he always does and offered his condolences. A few minutes later, he came over to my desk. The conversation went something like this.

“ Buffy,” he said. “Right now you are looking at the back side of the tapestry. You see all the knots and loose threads and it’s not very pretty.”

“You got that right,” I said. “It’s ugly. Real ugly.”

“Yes,” he said. “I know you think it is. But one day you’re going to see the other side of that tapestry, and you will see how beautiful it is.”

Wow! What an image he had painted for me. I remembered the cross-stitch wall hanging my mother made for me before she died. He was right. The back of it wasn’t pretty. There were knots and loose threads. It didn’t look like a picture at all. But when I flipped it over, all the ugliness was gone and a beautiful picture was in its place.

So many times in life we’re looking at the back side of the tapestry. It’s hard not to. Life’s not always fair. It’s not always happy. And it’s not always how we want it to be.

But I’ve learned that it’s the knots and the loose threads on the back of the tapestry that make the front of it the masterpiece it is.

We won’t always understand the twists and turns our road of life takes, but, if we trust in the Lord, we know where that road will ultimately lead.

Thank you, Jim, for your gift that day. You probably didn’t know how much that moment meant to me or that it was a moment that I would pass on to so many other people.

I will always remember the tapestry story and that beauty can be found in even the ugliest of times.

First published in York Daily Record/Sunday News March 11, 2007

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