A couple weeks ago, my counselor Jane asked me about traumatic experiences in my life. I didn’t know what to say, because relatively, I have few traumatic experiences to speak of. I have a safe community and loving family and it feels ungrateful to talk about my suffering when many have much worse. But as my friend Emily reminds me, we don’t get very far comparing our troubles.
I mentioned my car accident and the aftermath, the fights, phone calls, and flashbacks. But that was, like, eighteen months ago, I said. I couldn’t still be feeling that.
Then she asked about my grandfather’s passing. Was I still grieving? He died nearly five years ago, I assured her. I mean, I don’t think so. I don’t know.
Jane pointed out, When I first asked you why you went to Davidson, the first thing you said was, “Well, my grandfather went there.” You chose Davidson at least partly because of him.
And then I remembered that my first passenger in my wrecked, long-gone car was my grandfather, and cried.
My mom has often told me our lives are like tapestries, and in this life, we only see the tangled, knotted, messy back. But on the front, which God sees, and one day we will too, the Spirit weaves a masterpiece. My tapestry is the fabric of who I am. So when Jane began describing the tapestry metaphor, I nodded and almost tuned her out, knowing what was coming. But actually I didn’t know. Because here is the crucial thing she added, the thing that lightened and freed and released me:
The traumatic experiences we face are like the deep dark threads. They’re shadowy. They look scary. But these threads add definition to your tapestry. They add depth, richness, intensity and intricacy. The masterful creative Holy Spirit redeems the horrible things and makes them fundamental to our beauty.