Friday, December 16, 2011

the art of weaving {a balanced life}

“She who reconciles the ill-matched threads of her life,  
and weaves them gratefully into a single cloth -  
it’s she who drives the loudmouths from the hall 
and clears it for a different celebration  
where the one guest is You.” 

Rainer Maria Rilke
I sit with one of my favorite quotes in front of me, the one that sits framed on my kitchen desk.  We’re halfway through December, list-making month.  Only a few days remain in this year.  
I list my threads:
{Homemaking}  Atmosphere, cleanliness (cooking, cleaning, washing dishes, tidying up, laundry), routine, beauty, productivity, rest, peace...
{Creativity}  Music (worship leading, songwriting, performing, recording), visual art (photography, painting, collaging), crafts (crocheting, cross-stitch), personal appearance (dressing, hair/nails/face, etc)...
{Writing} Blog, poetry, fiction, autobiography, emails, encouragement...
{Wifehood}  Romance, care of needs, submission and following, prompting / suggesting family initiatives, sharpening / accountability, intentional encouragement...
{Motherhood}  Homeschooling, heart-shepherding, fostering creative play, building spiritual habits (memorizing Scripture, facilitating time with Jesus in the morning, daily verse on the kitchen table, ABC Bible Verses before naptime), hygiene/care...
{Jesus}  Reading His Words, committing them to heart, conversing throughout the day, meditating on truth, pausing at set times to commune, listing graces with gratitude...  
{Daily Life}  Inconveniences, interruptions, general maintenance...
{Ministry}  Giving and receiving hospitality, meeting needs, entering community, learning and teaching, attending events, hosting events, administration (newsletters, communication, fundraising, etc)...
{Friendship}  Local friendships, overseas friendships, workmate relationships...
{Foreign Culture(s): Three!}  Moving forward in language learning, ability to read and expound Scripture in a second and third language, constant culture learning and adaptation...
{Extra Initiatives/Events} birthdays, Christmas, Easter, local holidays…

I count eleven different colors, each with its own skein of individual threads in varying shades… I feel a bit dizzy.  
No wonder I’m feeling stretched rather thin at the end of this year.  How did Bilbo Baggins put it? “Like butter scraped over too much bread.”  

I’ve gulped great draughts of fresh 2011 air, welcoming this brief lull between pregnancies/nursing/infants/transitions, eagerly reviving one at a time these beautiful color-threads that have gotten smooshed and tangled under the fast-moving speedy boots our life has worn for the last six years.  This is my life, I chose it and I love living it, but sometimes it leaves me rather breathless.  Stability is an elusive luxury; and mostly, I like it that way.  It’s sure never boring!  But… this year I’ve been enjoying a break from all the speed...  
True to form, I threw myself into this Year of Here, just like I throw myself into the speed...  Breathlessly, I asked of these months: Oo - oo! How many new habits, traditions, good, healthy enjoyable threads can I weave into my life?  How many treasured goals and hoped-for projects can I revive in just a few short months?  
Who’s running this show, anyway?  I think I’ve slid into believing it’s me.  No wonder I’m getting a bit weary.  So much for a “break” - is it me that’s in the habit of going much too fast?  Cramming too much in?  

Like a friend of mine discovered, not wanting to waste a moment I desecrate the moments by accelerating through them and not staying in them.  

Once a week on Saturday mornings I walk for a whole hour while my hubby plays with the boys (usually outside doing boy-stuff).  I explore a direction that interests me; this week I headed out of town up towards the mountains across snowy fields.  
Feet tramping in happy rhythm, thoughts relaxed and fluid, I walked into a realization: I am not the pattern-maker.  -Pop-  Something pinged inside of me, and I found myself taking a deep breath.  And another.  And another.  Shoulders sagged.  Steps slowed.  Joy welled deep.  
I am not the pattern-maker.  All I have to do is listen to the Pattern-Maker.  

It’s difficult!  I protest to myself.  I have known this; I just haven’t been living it.  I love each of my threads too much to find it easy to let go.  To lay them down.  To release a thread I especially love and let it rest for a while.  I just want to hold onto all of them and keep them all moving at the same time; I dislike slack.  It makes me feel like I’m moving backwards.
What is it in me that needs to hold on so tightly?  What am I afraid of?  That if I let go, the threads will reel out of control and all the beautiful things I want in my life will disintegrate and fly to pieces around me?  Doesn’t He want beautiful things for my life too?  And wouldn’t His pattern be far more beautiful - stately - measured - balanced - perfect than mine, all bunchy and forced?  Anyway, it’s impossible for me to keep all these threads moving much longer.  I exhale, long and slow.  
Why can’t I just trust?
I need the Pattern-Maker.  I need to hear His pattern, need to let all my threads rest.  Pick them up gently, one at a time, weave a slow dance, a balanced dance.  Follow His pattern.  Wouldn’t His pattern have flowers and fields and scents and lovely, restful streams?  And wouldn’t His timing be perfect, Him knowing right moment for each thread to shimmer into place, Him speaking soft to my heart, my hands?
Isn’t that a better way to live?  To weave?  

My feet walk on, follow a path across a field, see, stop.  I take photographs of an abandoned mud house, open to the sky, shadows of cut-out spaces on its walls, patterns of light and dark, azure and pearl and dusky brown.  

Turning my face up to the sun, I close my eyes.  I stretch out my arm and snap a picture.  Sunlight warms my face, pressing heavy orange on closed lids.  I feel the weight of heat through the sharp winter cold.  My heart lifts.  Threads hang slack.

On the way home, a new song comes.  I take the song-thread into the house with me, sit at the piano to weave a while, the boys watching cartoons, James trimming trees, the house humming quiet.  Time for song-writing.  I take up the thread and obey - with joy.  Next it will be time for lunch-making, nap-taking and word-crafting.  And after that… ?  

My hands lie open.  Threads surround.  

I listen, and pick up the next one.


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