Wednesday, 21 December 2011
Weaving the darkness in
I talk a lot here about how we don’t need to fear our brokenness. How the need for honesty is also the need for healing — that when we’re broken, God has an opening to work on our heart. God takes the broken and makes it beautiful.
But until I read this story on Momastery (at the end of the post) about God-as-knitter, I don’t think I’d appreciated the picture fully. I love this metaphor. In the post, Glennon sees God as a woman, patiently knitting a wild, colorful garment while Glennon is completely pissed at her for not answering a prayer the way she’d wanted. Soon Glennon realizes the garment God is knitting is her — that God is weaving and creating her story, and she realizes she doesn’t want Her to stop. She still trusts Her.
Here’s what I see when I imagine myself with God as the woman-weaver: I’m not sitting across the room from Her; I’m sitting across the tapestry from Her. I’m also weaving. We are co-creating my story together, working on it as a team because God invites me in, says I have freedom to choose some of the colors and patterns. She is gracious and lets me make all kinds of mistakes, because She knows I’m learning. She helps me weave these little mistakes in, learn from them, grow.
Then sometimes, something spills. Or, one of the skeins I’m working with has a weak or broken thread. Sometimes I take the tapestry and rip into it on purpose.
However it happens, there’s darkness in my story. The darkness is in some things that have happened to me, and the darkness is in me. I see the darkness as ugly blotches on the tapestry and I am ashamed.
But God looks at me with such compassion that shame has to slink away. God, in Her infinite wisdom, has anticipated this. She’s not surprised, nor is She disappointed in me. She thought these specific dark and ripped threads might come along, because She is the God of all possibility. She has a plan for it. She always had a pattern in mind for any and all darkness that might enter. And as soon as I stop hiding it from Her, She starts to work on it.
She’s been working on the gaping hole left by my dad’s death for a long time. I hid it from Her for years, but little by little I gave Her more and more of the darkness, and She began to weave the most beautiful colors and meaning and beauty into it. The darkness I saw in my own heart during our adoption process got into the pattern, too. I was learning I could trust her with the ugliest corners of my heart. I knew She would handle it gently, though She wasn’t going to let it stay the way it was. She had to dig in with her fingernails to loosen some of the more stubborn bits, teaching the same lesson thread by thread, until it would accept new color, new life.
When I look at it now, I can still see the darkness. So can She. Tragedy can’t be erased, but it can be transformed.
And so after more than three decades of life, I can see the picture that’s starting to emerge. Even in my darkness and brokenness, God is weaving the story of who She intended me to be all along. The darkness is part of my story, but so is the color. She has weaved the darkness in, used it for her purposes and I’m not ashamed of it anymore. And actually, I can’t imagine it without the dark patches. She’s integrated them so fully that I don’t see how I could have learned what I needed to learn without them.
I look up from the section I’m working on with Her now, the one with the threads of young motherhood, the color of life with littles, the complicated pattern of fitting my writing and art in the margins. I look at Her. She looks back me and smiles, taking in the picture with me. It’s a knowing look She has, seeing where this portion will lead later. She’s proud of me and tells me so with a twinkle in her eye. She loves me, I can see it. I can see it in all these colors and this lovely picture. I trust Her; I trust the story She has in mind and I will keep creating the art of this life with Her. And I give thanks.