Moments. They are what makes a lifetime. Some sorrowful, some joyful. Some ordinary, some unusual. Our memories of these moments can bring us joy or sorrow. Memories can haunt us, not allowing us to move past some moment. Or they can free us, reminding us of the possibilities that exist along our journeys. We take these memories and try to make sense of them, sometimes succeeding and sometimes not. I had woven a beautifully intricate tapestry with mine, proud of how we they had come together. Others admired that tapestry. I had woven my memories into a nice, neat story, acceptable within the evangelical circles that I had found myself for the past twenty plus years.
But in 2020, I found myself revisiting that story, examining the moments that had created it. As I did this, I saw a loose thread which I was compelled to pull. And as I did, the tapestry unraveled, leaving me with nothing but a pile of loose thread and feeling of raw vulnerability.
I had liked having that tapestry. It was warm and safe beneath it. I had made beauty from those moments in my life, weaving the good and bad into an acceptable narrative. But now, as I sat there with nothing but raw thread in my hands, I was left confused. I found myself examining the moments that made up the thread, trying to identify the weak spot in my story. If I could find the weak spot, I could rebuild the story which held my life together. But did it? Could a story really be the glue that keeps a life from falling apart?
No, that couldn’t be true. Stories don’t have that much power. And suddenly, I realized what that tapestry really was. Like the veil of the temple in Jerusalem, I had built a curtain to keep others out. Yes, I had friendships and fellowship, but I used this curtain – this story – to keep others at arm’s length. But as I revisited the story, I realized that the meaning was in the experience of true connection, in allowing others and God beneath the curtain and into the most sacred places of myself. Finally, like the temple in Jerusalem, I sat raw and exposed, with no veil to hide behind. And this time, I was determined not to rebuild that tapestry.