Special Thanks to Russ Foster for mentioning this title
There are people who say that any use of the word proud is wrong. I guess because it is wrong to have a boastful, unsubstantial pride in your own abilities. “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” “Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall,” but when I use the word as I am about to, I am thinking more of the accomplishments of others and not my own.
The other evening some of the young people from our church were at a restaurant and one of my media assistants had been texting me about something and when they were asked who it was a conversation about me started in which it was stated that this person was my most favorite Sunday School student ever, which elicited comments from others. Everybody was having a good time, at my expense, of course, but it did make me think, how many people’s lives have I touched in some way, positively, or worse, negatively. The negative is a lot harder for me and I won’t address it here in this post, if at all on this blog.
The first class I ever was assigned to was the Junior Class, ages 10 & 11, in, I believe, the summer of 1990. They gave themselves the name, “Warriors of the Lamb” and their theme scripture was, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. ” Revelation 12:11. Out of that class there came at least two preachers and a missionary’s wife that I know of. The one preacher still works in our local assembly as both a preacher and a Sunday School teacher. I got to hear him preach the other night and felt really proud of him and I thought, “I am a part of that!” Obviously, I was not the only influence in his life, that would be impossible, And I know the caliber of the many other people that were there. That’s where the tapestry comes in.
When you get to look at a finely woven tapestry you see a thing of beauty, the product of loving labor by a master craftsman. A professional tapestry weaver working 35 – 40 hours a week takes about a month to make just one square meter. The vertical strands are almost always high-quality wool, attached to a strong, thick beam, then stretched on the loom and are called the woof. This is the backbone of the tapestry. The weft is the part that goes horizontally and where the art comes in. The threads used in the weft can be and usually are many different colors and even many different kinds of materials. Along with wool, there could be silk or even silver and gold threads. The master, the professional craftsman, is an artist.
Handpicking the threads before work ever starts, he begins weaving them in and out of the woof, working and working, switching out colors and materials to match the image in his mind or copying the image he has before him. The planned image slowly emerges as he had imagined it or, in some cases, as he is working along, he may use something different, that fits better. He may take an artful license with it. Occasionally he has to cut it down from the beam, salvage everything he can and start over. Using some colors of threads over and over in many places while other threads are used very sparingly. It really was very amazing to read about this whole process and even more amazing to think about.
Then I think about all of the fine adults I know who have let the Master Craftsman weave me in and out of their lives, adding my uniqueness to them. I look in wonder and amazement and even fear at the hundreds, possibly thousands of children I have known over the last 29 years. I don’t know why the Master chose me. It is a humbling thought and yet when I look at some of the tapestries I have seen, I am proud of the work the Master has done in so many. I didn’t make that preacher, that Sunday School superintendent’s wife, that youth leader, that schoolteacher, that art teacher, that prayer warrior (the list is too long to remember) and my thread is not the only one, far from it. If it were made of all the same color and all the same thread it would probably make a better rug or doormat than beautiful art.
I have seen some beautiful works of art in these tapestries and realize that they are not even finished yet. Some are barely started. And the one thing they all have in common is that they are all different. They are all unique to themselves, beautiful, individual, handcrafted pieces of art. It is impossible to pick a favorite one, but it is possible to love and be proud of each and every one.
This is very awesomely interesting! I love thinking about the Weaver’s beam and what work it takes to accomplish.
And after having seen one I am more impressed by the one of David’s mighty men who fought the Egyptian who spear was like a weaver’s beam. “And he slew an Egyptian, a man of great stature, five cubits high; and in the Egyptian’s hand was a spear like a weaver’s beam; and he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and slew him with his own spear.”
Working with babies (and older kids) is a humbling, awe-inspiring opportunity. I get angry when I see colleagues who don’t understand what’s being asked of them, or how they abuse it, or flat-out ignore their responsibility. Lately my most challenging colleague is filled with ridiculous pride, which is why I’m writing about work at all. I cannot fathom what it takes to live life like that. I mean, we all have our faults or deficiencies, but to build up such a complete mosaic of ego as this colleague has, it can only be described as deliberate. It stopped being a matter self-preservation a long time ago. It’s not something that can be dismissed as that person not understanding what they’ve become, especially as you can witness them actively working at maintaining the delusion despite every opportunity to rethink it. It’s an example of the kind of mundane evil that’s society’s real failing, not the giant things you will read about in the news, but the small things that will make everyday life miserable. We’re enablers. That’s how society fails. We enable the bad habits of others all the time. It always struck me that the whole point of Christianity was to represent the idea that we can be better than that. It doesn’t mean we build a shield against the worst of the world, or that we behave perfectly in every situation (anyone who tries to either is already a fake or will soon be), but that we recognize (and in some cases feel) the pain of how the world works, but choose to go a different way, a way that strives to heal what is broken. It’s not about setting an example. Examples are the exception. People will always do what’s being done by the majority of people. I don’t know if any Christian populations have ever collectively lived up to their ideals. I don’t see that as even the point. Anyone who judges Christianity based on the results of a Christian popularity misunderstands Christianity. Ideally, Christian populations would have a greater chance at reaching their ideals than isolated Christians within greater populations. But, people are people. So we can only hope to spread good, as much as we can.
Very well said, as usual. I always appreciate your insightful and thoughtful replies. Especially on subjects you are passionate about. Society is failing and at least part of the problem is that no one believes in moral absolutes anymore. Another thing is that people are not taught to see themselves correctly. The selfie generation is constantly measuring itself against itself and only seeing what is flattering to them or through filters of all sorts and not just looking at themselves honestly. “Here’s where I measure up. Here’s where I don’t. Here’s where I could.”
Wow! I loved it. Well said!
* Tips hat * Thank you kindly, ma’am.