“This is a Metaphor”
It was Saturday afternoon and I was MAD.
As anyone who’s ever suffered from chronic fatigue knows, you have a finite amount of energy. On Saturday, I was blessed with a rare, elusive energy window, and I POUNCED. I decided to attempt a project: a newly acquired skill. I took out my measuring tape, tailor’s chalk, and my newly purchased denim thread and needle, and set out to hem my jeans. I did the math, marked ‘em up, and neatly sliced off a good 4 inches, leaving an inch extra for the hem. (Yes, having pants that are 5 inches too long is a common occurrence. Hence, the need for this skill, lest I want to continue paying $20 to have my pants altered for me. Some tailor has put her kids through college off my diminutive height….)
Anyway, I started with a pair of black skinny jeans. Since the material was thin, I used regular thread and needle in my machine and voila! Perfecto! Then I started in on the white whale: thick, beautiful, premium jeans, ones that needed a specific denim needle and thread. (Or so the how-to instructions I’d found online had said.) Fast forward to two hours later, and I was shaking with fatigue, my compulsive need to leave no project unfinished pushing me way past my window’s end, and all I had to show for it was a broken needle, an entire hem that needed to be ripped out, and a row of stitches that looked perfect on the underside but bumpy and like a squiggly caterpillar on the front. (To which I may have yelled: Go home, hem, you’re drunk!)
Finally, I gave up, frustrated, not knowing how to fix the problem despite reading the manual backwards and forwards, and annoyed that I had pushed myself into a low. Later, I discovered that apparently you’re not supposed to use such thick thread for both the needle AND the bobbin. I rooted through my meager collection… no all-purpose thread in the color I’d need. Oh, how I huffed and puffed! (Picture streams of air coming out my nostrils all Tauntaun style.) “The energy window is so rare, and I have nothing to show for it,” I complained to Mandalf. (Yes, I was conveniently forgetting the successful hemming of the first pair of jeans. I was MAD and needed condolences.)
An hour later, I was routing around through a drawer, when under a scrapbook, I found a green plastic box fastened with duct tape. It had belonged to my grandmother, one of the boxes of her crafting supplies. She had been like me, a creative butterfly, searching for every possible avenue of expression, never quite settling on one for too long. Inside the forgotten box were spools and spools of thread, lovingly arranged by color, with an antique pair of tiny thread scissors and a tin advertising hard candies that actually held pins. My eyes welled as I found the thread I’d need, but what hit me more while I ran my fingers over the tools she’d used was the overwhelming sensation that I was carrying on her legacy, that a piece of her lived on in me. It no longer mattered that I didn’t finish my project. And even though she’s been gone half a decade, holding the box and picturing her routing through it just as I was then made me feel closer to her than ever.
I had been so mad because I’d thought I didn’t have the right tools to fix my problem. Yet it turned out, I had them all along. They just weren’t where I thought they’d be. (Yes, this story is a metaphor for life. Just in case the title didn’t give it away…)
Many times, we come across a roadblock. We don’t know how to get past it, how to fix it, and we don’t think we have the tools. But often times, we do have them, they’re just not in the place we’re looking for them. That’s because we often can’t see what’s right in front of our noses until we step back and get a wider view.
What’s that called? Oh, yeah. Perspective. Must remember to keep that one on retainer…
Off to rip some stitches,