On Thanksgiving when friends came by for cocktails in the evening, my sweet (beautiful, brilliant, resilient, wise) friend spent some time seated with me next to my fireplace, talking of a great many things, the two of us enjoying being in each other’s confidence while the Mr. Wickam’s of the world left us to our own devices. As we talked she mentioned rereading the journals she kept while she lived and worked overseas for a year. She reveled in the adventures she had, in the differences between our society and the cultures she encountered, and some of the choices she made. As she talked about her reflections, my interest was piqued and for the rest of the weekend I found myself finding reasons to stop whatever it was that I was doing to read what I have published here.
Those who know me well know I tend to retread the grounds I’ve already walked upon but usually that takes place within a day or two rather than weeks or even months down the road.
In my reading I was surprised at my insights into myself. I talked of looking for humor and finding the positive long before the darkest parts of this journey began, of accepting the lessons thrown at me long before I had any idea how difficult the lessons would be, and of persevering through difficulties. Before the most difficult bits came to pass I already seemed to have a plan to handle them and I already knew myself well enough to know exactly what inner work would be necessary for me to survive this storm.
Brava, Miss Gwen!
What I really enjoyed, however, was seeing the golden threads in the tapestries woven by my words.
I think if people realized how much their words or actions inspire what I write they would be horrified. Wait. I’m not supposed to tell you that. Shhh… You didn’t see anything.
Where was I? Ah, yes…
The golden threads glinting throughout the colorful tapestries woven by my words in the Tales of Gwen the Kintsukuroi.
Golden threads are perhaps my favorite part of the tapestries I see when I look back at what has been written thus far. They’re threads I found in conversations with those I esteem, in strangers, in notes from loved ones and friends, threads that make me think, “oh, shiny,” as I reach out to pluck them. Those golden, precious threads weave their way into my thoughts and dreams, my inner dialogue, my reflections, meditations, and prayers until I sit down to write and they quietly, cleverly fall into the loom. Occasionally I see them fall and quietly tie them into the piece like little Easter eggs left for those from whom they came to find and recognize while at other times I seem oblivious to their presence until I step back to admire my work. I never seem to be aware of how long each thread is or how prevalent each thread may be in the scheme of things, and until today I didn’t realize how many threads are woven from one tapestry to the next, and the next.
Taking a walk in my recollections of the last several months and seeing the golden glimmers shining in my work, I savored the memories of each golden thread and how each sliver of gold left in my hands brought out of me a greater work. I see how different people’s slivers shine differently and where those who were in the work at the beginning may not be now. I am amazed at the influence of a select few can be seen ebbing and flowing through my work over the course of months and years. It seems I have some whose influence borders on the power of the fair goddess Muse.
What is incredibly compelling for me in the reflection on this journey so far is that the gold being forged and used to mend my brokenness in the kintsukuroi of my life has been brought to me and left by those whom I esteem, respect, and cherish greatly. Amazing, isn’t it, that the gold has come to me, already purified, prepared, stretched thin and ready for the fire to warm and mold it into the perfect glue to put my brokenness back together again?
The most powerful part of this is that those whose gold has been woven the most in my tapestries, those who have mended piece after piece, are likely completely unaware of the impact they have had whether it is because they simply aren’t reading what I put forth, because of humility, or because of a willing suspension of belief that what was written at some level came from them.
Yet here I sit, piece after piece returning to its rightful place, weaving my words into a tapestry even I cannot fathom, predict, or see the end of thanks to the golden threads left in my hands.
(Expansion, artist: Paige Bradley, pictured in Brooklyn, New York; photographic credit: unknown photographer)
Never forget that each encounter you have may be the gold that gives someone the little bit more they need to mend that which is broken… or the dross that takes away the shine from what is already there.
Originally published 26 November 2017