why i read

i’ve been reading, and i’m learning interesting things about myself through children’s books about magic. saying that feels silly, but the thoughts that are drifting around in my head aren’t, i don’t think, and i thank tamora pierce and her gentle but profound character development skills for these thoughts. through one of her characters i am understanding myself better at just the right time. this is why i love books!

this character’s name is sandry and at first i did not connect with her. i thought her a stock character with her noble stubbornness and feminine charm. i wasn’t impressed with her skills in magical weaving. i thought her abilities some of the most boring of all of tamora’s characters. that was until i read the first book in the series (i know, one’s supposed to do these things in order) and saw how important her innate ability to weave and sew and spin was in the overall story. in the book, sandry uses her spinning skills to weave her magic together with her three friends’ seemingly more important magic together, saving their lives and giving them all kinds of new and impressive abilities. pierce freely uses this connection to save the children’s lives over and over and heal the hurtful pasts that unexpectedly brings them together. reading the later books in the series first, i was mostly unimpressed by this literal connection. i thought it contrived, but as pierce describes sandry’s work to weave her friends in their time of danger, i skitted back to moments earlier in the book and later in the series where she appeals unabashedly to her often angry and closed off friends. she is free with her affection, seeking to comfort and communicate….just like a girl, the boy in the group would say.
i guess he’s right, but God’s been teaching me recently that it’s perfectly right to be like a girl in that way. he made us so on purpose that we might heal with our love and gentleness and even refusal to back down when those we care about need to be loved through their own darkness. i realized that i’m often stubborn in that way too. and then it really hit me, sandry does not seek to weave her friends together just in that moment, just in their magic, she constantly works to pull them together, to smooth out their wrinkles and work out their knots that they might work in harmony to create something more beautiful than the hurt and anger they often let define their lives. i realized that i’ve been trying to do that too. though maybe not so gracefully and fearlessly. i’m not so good at it i think. we don’t have magic in this world, but how beautiful the picture, the weaving, the idea of community (i will not now sing “weave us together” though the song would apply, i think it makes this idea trite instead of poignant). i just know it’s what i keep trying to do. i just haven’t understood it so well.

i think so often about my friends, my brothers and sister in Christ specifically, and community with them that i have to go back to Scripture to make sure i’m not making too much of our fellowship, trying too hard to see it succeed. but now i see that i’ve wanted to guide our weaving, to coax my brothers and sisters past their pain and disillusionment to harmony with each other. i’ve wanted to see us create bonds not easily broken. i know now that i’m terrified of unraveling. i don’t want to lose control. but in some ways i think i’m succeeding as i work through the knots with determination and a lot of fumbling. i wonder if this is my gift. could this be the use for my wisdom? like sandry i know that we are stronger together, we can fill in for each other where the gaps are, we can hold each other in danger.

i realized that like sandry i love my friends vehemently and that’s why even when they push away i wait patiently for them to return, even when i screw up i believe we can make it through. i’ve been learning patience and a calm head too like she had to as she worked on both the physical and mental parts of her craft. i’m learning also that i can be the optimistic one, the overly expressive one. i can deal with the teasing because someone has to be willing to brighten us up. one person needs to be reading with strong thread to pull another in the fellowship out of the darkness and bind them again to the brethren. for some reason God has given me perseverance where i lack charm, compassion where i lack sweet words, and steadfastness where i might not appear the best candidate for a listening ear or wise advice. in the last few days, i find the same friends who treat my idealism as foolishness and act as though the silliness of my mind is unfathomable have begun to offer bits of themselves i wouldn’t hope for in private, pieces i hope can be added to our weaving that we might be nearer, tighter, wholer.

i describe little things with big words. breathes inside moments. my dearests don’t see things this way often. only in glimpses, but i think i’m look at the weaving from the other side and it makes more sense to me. sometimes i get jealous of the pictures they’re making where i’m not involved. i feel like i’m always slipping around the edges wanting to touch everyone but only brushing their edges. tonight i realize what a beautiful place that is to be. just like their prominent places are. i don’t want to be ungrateful for my use. sandry was vital in her friends’ stories. maybe i will be in my friends’ stories as well.

i think this connection bloomed in my mind when sandry had to fix her initial spinning. at that time her friends were one continuous yarn. they kept spilling over without control. so she weaved them specially that they might continue to grow separately and together and as she did so she had to think of each friend and all she knew of them. she didn’t want to leave those thoughts. i do that daily. i think my friends through. the minutia i love about them, the places they need badly to grow, the way i can see God working in them. much like prayers i drift happily in their existence. i fully understand how sandry feels in that moment. the idea of being without them is often too much. though it will happen as it does in the later books. i don’t think my friends would understand this if they read it. i know how kitschy it sounds, but tonight i sleep with a better understanding of myself and my calling. we serve a good God. i won’t make light of the ways he chooses to explain us to ourselves.

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