The Rough and Tumble of Life: Here We go Again By Nita Gilger
Things were opening back up again. We had even taken a couple of trips with the necessary precautions in place. After all, our vaccines were completed and we were still practicing safety with hand washing and masks in crowded spaces. But now with the Delta Variant and not enough people vaccinated, it seems the latest surge is wreaking havoc again. What will businesses do now? How will parents, teachers, and children manage with the new school year beginning soon? So many are still so very vulnerable.
These times seem overwhelming to many. We are in a rough and tumble time in life as a country not just with the pandemic but with wildfires, deadly weather patterns, and conflict. Can you and I come through this time with our inner, sometimes hidden beauty and strength revealed? Can we weave a tapestry of healing and wholeness with and for each other? I want to believe the answer is Yes. It takes a deep level of soul work, love, and commitment.
Life is a little like a rock tumbler. When polishing rocks, one places rocks, grit, and water into a motorized machine or tumbler. As the rocks tumble, they grind against one another with particles of the abrasive grit caught between them. After a great deal of turning and polishing, one can discover the hidden beauty of rocks and minerals. The stones usually start out rough but over time, beauty comes.
Nature has been tumbling rocks for millions of years. Wind, rain, rivers and oceans are powerful sources of forming and smoothing out rocks. While a rock tumbler might take 4-8 weeks of tumbling or longer, nature's timetable is not limited in such a way. As I think of all of life's gifts and challenges, it seems to me that we are not unlike would-be rocks that might be chosen for polishing. Polishing takes time. Life takes grit and refreshing waters that sustain. It takes dedicated, hard work. Yet, even from the roughest places, the most jagged stones can become shinny and polished with purpose. In a recent reading of a poem by Parker J. Palmer I found sustenance for the wear and tear of life. If Parker is right, and I think he is, there is a thread of life that holds everything together even when so many things fall away. It is a thread that we follow, sometimes unknowingly, that guides our living. There is loss, conflict, struggle, and rough places as we go along. But there is so much beauty too. There are so many possibilities and gifts in our living if we look for them and help create them. When I take a drone or helicopter view of life, I can see the threads of my life and hope remains therein. I can begin to see patterns of connections and relational living that direct me toward wholeness and a meaningful life. Won't you look with me? I bet you can see it too. Let's do a fly over with Parker. What does your tapestry look like?
There is a thread you follow. It goes among things that change. But it doesn’t change. --William Stafford
Everything Falls Away By Parker J. Palmer
Sooner or later, everything falls away. You, the work you’ve done, your successes, large and small, your failures, too. Those moments when you were light, along- side the times you became one with the night. The friends, the people you loved who loved you, those who might have wished you ill, none of this is forever. All of it is soon to go, or going, or long gone.
Everything falls away, except the thread you’ve followed, unknowing, all along. The thread that strings together all you’ve been and done, the thread you didn’t know you were tracking until, toward the end, you see that the thread is what stays as everything else falls away.
Follow that thread as far as you can and you’ll find that it does not end, but weaves into the unimaginable vastness of life. Your life never was the solo turn it seemed to be. It was always part of the great weave of nature and humanity, an immensity we come to know only as we follow our own small threads to the place where they merge with the boundless whole.
Each of our threads, runs its course, then joins in life together. This magnificent tapestry-- this masterpiece in which we live forever.