“It will be very interesting one day to follow the pattern of our life as it is spread out like a beautiful tapestry. As long as we live here we see only the reverse side of the weaving, and very often the pattern, with its threads running wildly, doesn’t seem to make sense. Some day, however, we shall understand.
In looking back over the years we can discover how a red thread goes through the pattern of our life: the Will of God.” ~ Maria Augusta von Trapp
There is this popular theory that there is one thread that ties everything we have ever done and will do together.
I think it is much more complex than that.
I think it is intricate work woven by our choices, missed opportunities, our failures, and all of the beautiful and gory bits in-between.
I once spent the day walking up and down the boardwalk thinking about fate.
The waves broke, the sea foam spat out in fits of surprise. The seagulls cried out. Part of me wondered what the view is like from a bird’s perspective—looking down on the comings and goings of ordinary people.
They watch us drop our ice cream cones and trip over loose boards. They see our sloppy kisses and missed connections—how we come together. They observe things found, and things lost. It must be a beautiful design they witness from above.
Like so many of us, I have made some pretty ugly mistakes. In the past decade alone I have made choices I am ashamed of and decisions that still make me cringe.
I used to ask myself whether it could really have been in the cards for me from the start?
I always believed that everything happened for a reason, but after enough self-sabotaging, I began to look at fate differently.
No one deserves strife. No one inherits suffering. Not even me.
The past is a string of moments we have woven from the our first breaths to where we are today. Does this mean that in some way we are always connected to our past? That it plays a significant role in the paths we choose or have chosen.
What color would that thread be? Would the past be a grey thread? Seems fitting, as our memories dissipate, becoming a faded version of their once vibrant selves.
I believe that through our choices or lack thereof, we untether ourselves from any predestiny, if there is one. We fray the almighty thread ever so slightly. We tinker with the design. So, it must be true that we are the captains of our own fate. I like the way that sounds.
But what about the most important thread of all, the one that we have weaved moment by moment? I suppose it depends on what our past looks like. In that case, there must be color-coded thread for each moment that changed our course.
We make many decisions based on emotions, and perhaps those emotions are weaved colorfully into our story. Our lives are a tapestry. There are still so many blank spots in the fabric.
Only as we watch our tapestry bleed with color will we begin to understand how much influence we had over our own lives.
So, I suggest we take up our needles and sew with purpose.
What do I want my tapestry to look like? What story do I want it to tell to others? To remind me of?
I want it to speak of a life lead with an open heart. I want it to show that I chose the colorful path. That I did not sit back and allow fate to get the accolades for my triumphs and tragedies. I want to run my hands over the bruises, the purple thread, and remember the battles.
I want it to show that fate did not fight my battles, nor does it share in the joy of overcoming them.
I want to remember that there has not been some invisible thread pulling me through this life, but a brilliant blue one: faith. Faith that this beautiful life pushes and pulls, but does not mean to destroy. The only destiny we are guaranteed is the one where we live this life. For however long that may be.
I have come to discover that long ago I began weaving my own story. Because so much is out of our control, I understand the need to believe that everything happens for a reason. But how more powerful is the belief that we have the ability to create our own destiny.
It’s a terrifying idea, that we have this capacity, but we do.
The beautiful design that I believe is being interlaced intricately all around us, every day, is created by people making choices. Pulling, fraying, and shaping their tapestries into a work of art.
Threads can be broken. Clipped. But from our first to our last breath, we are capable of tying knots and piecing it back together.
Author: Amanda Shaune
Image: Tareck Raffoul
Editors: Khara-Jade Warren; Katarina Tavčar