Sunday, 11 December 2016

Crafting a Life

I have completed weaving one tea towel and am halfway through with the second. I encountered a couple of problems along the way---an untied treadle, three broken warp threads---but these were dealt with without a lot of difficulty. However, as the work progressed and the completed part was wound down off the top onto the beam below, it allowed daylight to shine through it, and all the flaws and weak spots were illuminated. Harshly. It appears my beater (beam that holds the reed) must be a bit warped (no pun intended), probably from being in storage and unused for so long. It isn't compressing the threads together very evenly, and there are a couple of rows where the gap between threads is being stretched into...well, a very visible gap.

I tell myself this is my first project and of course there will be flaws. I tell myself I'm still learning. I tell myself not to weep because the work and money I've put into it thus far are now for naught. I tell myself no doubt if I make ten thousand tea towels, at least one will turn out perfectly. None of this is comforting. I cringe with embarrassment that my teacher will see these mistakes.

However, as I rode the bus yesterday, fuming to myself, an idea and a question occurred to me that I think are worth pursuing.

The universe has conspired to give me a loom. The universe is trying to teach me something. What is it? Well, patience for one thing; I've never been strong on patience. Focus is another. I have prayed a lot lately to be able to stay in the "now" instead of always thinking of the past or future. Well, there is nothing so Zen as concentrating on four hundred tiny threads I can barely see. When I am weaving, I am in the moment, completely oblivious to all else in my life except that. I achieve "flow." So the loom has the ability to help me with that. Hmm...I'm seeing a pattern here, and not just in the emerging cloth.

At the risk of sounding prideful, I also have to acknowledge that most things in life have come to me quite easily. I have grown accustomed to excelling at everything I do, without a ton of effort. I know myself to be an intelligent person who grasps new things quickly. I am not used to failing. To be honest, I am prideful. So this whole exercise is, perhaps, also designed to give me a much-needed lesson in humility.

They say that you can cast your needs out into the world and the world will bring you what you need. So...God has seen the things I need to work on and has dropped a loom into my lap in response. How else am I to learn these things? So now I feel a bit better about my flawed fabric. I will improve in persistence and patience, in humility and trust, and in focusing on the now. Regardless of the quality of the output, the very process I'm going through is teaching me what I need to know. In that regard, the loom is doing its job. I will keep weaving, and let it.

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