You’ve heard the expression, to be at loose ends. I’m probably making this up but let’s suppose the true origin of the expression is from weavers as they reached the end of the warp yarns. They would find themselves at loose ends. Weaving creates a powerful word picture for that idiom because it is makes sense that there’s a call for action on the part of the weaver. He will need to bind the end of the fabric to finish it off, so that the loose ends are not able to fray.
When I look at the tapestry of my life, it feels like there are many loose ends. I’m casting about trying to understand the relationship of one yarn to another. Some strands are coming to an end while others are vibrant and powerfully influencing the direction of my life. Yet a tapestry is not created around a single thread or yarn by itself. It requires the presence and purpose of all of the other yarns with it.
I keep staring at the short yarns that seem to have ended too soon, and others that seem unwieldy and never-ending. Some threads I need and others I’m ready to toss out like a bad date. Through it all there is the conundrum of the now and the not yet.
Have you ever felt the tension between letting go of one thing and trying so hard to be into the next thing, and it remains elusive to you? I know I’ve quoted this bit before, but Elizabeth Elliot speaks of the need to “… carry within one’s self the unanswered question.” That is so apt for this present season of my life. To carry within seems to denote a yieldedness to be burdened. There is also a letting go of expectation. No more insistence, “It has to go my way, or I won’t play.” As elementary as that sounds, it is most often where I find myself. Thankfully yielding doesn’t entail blindly thrusting ourselves into a black hole. We entrust ourselves to the King.
Remember earlier I mentioned that the weaver needs to bind the loose ends of a tapestry? In a way I picture myself binding myself, my loose ends and my life to my King. Somehow I’m going to choose to let Him lead, and yield myself to that vulnerable and soul-searching process.
Recently I’ve been pondering grad school. You know, the kind of musings that require change-of-address cards, and a new resume. Mind-numbing fear encroaches at the periphery of my thoughts. It’s not that I’m unhappy because I’m not. I love my job and I love my house. It’s been easy to say “no” over the years, to choose the practical and known over the unknown. I’ve let opportunities fade into the shadows but somehow I’ve not forgotten them:
“…. I should take that job in London.”
“No. I won’t make as much money as I do here in the States.”
“… The hiring manager from Amsterdam called. That job could be mine if I let it. What an incredible opportunity…”
“No. I have friendships which mean a great deal to me and I don’t want to lose them.”
“… Rather than a short-term mission trip, why don’t you stay this time? Quit your job and stay.”
“No. I might miss out on something here. I might miss meeting my husband.”
Not too long ago, I read somewhere that God is bigger than our ability to miss opportunties. I really believe that. Yet sometimes we permit ourselves to miss opportunities simply because we’re afraid. God’s abilities toward me were never intended to enable me to live behind fear. God’s ability to catch and redirect me in spite of my decisions requires that I’m actually making decisive choices of action. If I have made indecision my companion, or compromise has become my bedfellow then I am not trusting God. Instead, my indecision has become my decision to live my life in hues of grey.
Sometimes strength and beauty come from risks taken and conquered.
I think of life as a tapestry, with the different threads having different functions. The long parallel threads -the warp- provide the fabric with stability. The threads which are woven through the warp, called the weft, are of indefinite length and are usually used to form the overall theme or design of the fabric. In order to form a complete tapestry, I need both the warp and the weft. If I have no warp, my fabric has no strength or stability. Yet, if I do not submit to some of the uncertainties, my tapestry becomes purely functional. The rich reds and vibrant greens of a life lived intentionally occur when we step out in faith and become the man or woman envisioned in our heart and mind’s eye.
To be dragged in the wake of the passive flock and to pass a hundred and one times beneath the shears of the shepherd, or to die alone like a brave eagle on a rocky crag of a great mountain: that is the dilemma. ~Praxedis Guerrero, RegeneraciÓn, 18 February 1911