Spiritual

Unraveling Loss and Looming Hope (and Patterns You Didn’t Expect)

By: Jana Greene

Hello, Dear Reader.

This is the 501st blog post on The Beggar’s Bakery. When I started the blog eight years ago, I was undergoing a season of loss. I would have hoped that by now, my posts would be more light and fluffy. More chipper. You would think, right? So many relationships in my life have grown since then. Some people I barely knew, I now know intimately. Other relationships have inexplicably imploded.

We aren’t living in a very chipper world right now, and my heart is heavy. So I’m writing, because it’s what I do when I don’t know what else to do.

Time is a big weaving loom, in a curious way. It is forever moving. You watch it work, and see an intricate pattern come to life before your eyes as if by magic. Tiny, easily-breakable threads that seem nothing on their own become a part of something bigger and better. You think the warm blanket you are looking forward to wrapping up in is a sure thing as the time chugs along. What a day that will be when the careful weaving becomes a finished product!

But sometimes there are glitches. Either by my own human error or the seemingly random equipment failure of outside forces, things get off kilter.

The threads – manifested as relationships woven as time passes – knot up. One wrong move and the pattern is ruined, and how in the world are you ever going to set it right?

Lately, I feel like I am desperately trying to force the pattern I chose back into being; tweaking this part of machinery or that, even though I have no idea how the thing even works.

I feel a little like the bumbling character Mr. Bean at the loom, awkwardly (and sometimes comically) breaking off the pieces I’m trying to fix; the whole fabric paying the price for my ineptitude. It is then that only making things worse as the beautiful tapestry I set out to make turns into the World’s Ugliest Sweater or World’s Biggest Ball of Yarn.

Interestingly, “loom” has two distinct meanings. First, a loom is a tool for weaving. Second, to loom is to appear or stand over someone in a threatening way. Even more succinctly, “loom” can mean “to come into view indistinctly, often threateningly.” I found that pretty ironic.

If there were ever a time of looming for the world, it is now. It would be bad enough if all we had to deal with was a world of inequity and deadly viruses; of isolation and economic worry.

But as these challenging things are going on, so too is the difficulty of sustaining relationships. Something as simple as one wrong stitch can throw the whole woven cloth into a big, knitted mess.

Even relationships that took years to craft, and so much precious thread and careful patterning, become a mess. Things come into view indistinctly. And nothing makes my heart sadder.

I think I speak for most of us when I saw that 2020 can go screw itself. Everyone is stressed. Everyone is hurting. It sure feels like time is standing over us in a threatening way.

This is not what I’d hoped things would look like 500 posts into this blog. Loss – that ugly Spector – once again at the forefront. Unraveling.

But as the loom of time spins out of control, I will keep trying to grab hold of that single thread that isn’t knotted. There is still time, right? All I can do is take responsibility for my part

If I’ve learned anything about God, it’s that he takes the shittiest circumstances and makes beautiful tapestries out of them. I’m counting on that happening again, continually. I’m counting on one day stepping back from the finished product and seeing the pattern intended for me. I know it will not be flawless. But it will be what it’s meant to be.

Five hundred posts ago, I thought I knew what to expect from friendships and other unpredictabilities of the passing of time.

But God, who designed time and space itself, is close to the broken-hearted. And sometimes that has to be enough.

I’ll keep weaving I’d you will.

Peace be with you and God bless us, every one.