“Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound to the destiny of others. You must either learn to carry the universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.” – A. Boyd
Have you ever felt the pain of another’s journey etching its way onto your life? The kind where you’ve bared your soul and seen another’s and somehow become intertwined in a way that leaves you hurting and tasting something richly of relationship? I’ve been thinking about that, and some of those personal experiences – and wonder if it isn’t a bit like weaving…
In the traditional Ethiopian process, a weaver begins by painstakingly threading the loom. Threads are stretched and snapped and strained against the metal to fit in the groundwork for what will come. Stories of great pain, loss and tragedy are like that. Left individually, they seem to join the masses of nondescript thread, overwhelming to look at on its own.
But under the weaver’s skilful touch, it can become much more. You see, all along, the weaver has a plan – a beautiful design in mind. The base threads had to individually be in place for the fabric to come together. Eventually, other threads are brought in with different colors and textures, weaving in, crossing, slamming, colliding into a beautiful tapestry. And in the mesmerising rhythm of the loom, something far different than individual threads starts to take place.
I can get swept away watching a skilled weaver move pieces up and down – all while knowing there’s an end product in mind. And while I’m not very talented at the traditional loom, I am confident in the Master Weaver’s ability to make something beautiful out of our shared pain and victory. Perhaps there’s a richer tapestry in the making each time we sit down around those tables together.