A mosaic of tiny broken pieces

in and out,

up and down,

over and over.

she wove her strands of life together,

patching hole after hole.

eventually she saw it was more than the threads that gave her strength,

it was in the very act of weaving itself

that she became strong.

-Terri St Cloud

I read this last night on Wholly Jeanne‘s beautiful blog and it jumped off the screen at me.

Yes.  I do this, all day long: I weave, stitch, try to patch the holes.  I am nothing more than a collection of tiny scraps. I often feel overwhelmed by a sense of frantic chaos at my core, often grieve the way I completely lack an animating principle, central passion, or unambiguous direction.  Instead I am a mass of loose ends, a kaleidoscope, a mosaic of tiny broken pieces.  I want so badly for the pieces to make sense, for a meaningful whole to emerge out of the pile of shards.

How deeply reassuring it is to imagine that there might be meaning in the weaving itself.  That it’s not the result but the act.  That even if I don’t ever piece myself into whole cloth – even if the fragments don’t add up to anything – the effort is worth something.  This is a balm.

I don’t feel strong these days, nor whole; I feel broken a lot of the time, and afraid that I am not moving towards the wholeness I so desperately desire.  There are moments when a surpassing calm floats over me, a feeling of peace and sureness in whose embrace I cannot imagine ever doubting again.  But that passes, and I’m back to the self I know so well, to all the jagged pieces, the frayed edges, the endless holes that appear as fast as I can patch them.

What can I do but weave on?

21 thoughts on “A mosaic of tiny broken pieces”

  1. The feeling broken, the jagged edges, the peace that comes from piecing it all together – my heart knows these well. And that some days it seems that it would be best to set it all aside and move on….

    Yet here we are, right here, right now -all of us working our stitches, so to speak. Maybe we are all working to bring all of the fragments together in one huge kaleidoscope of wonder…

    Thanks, Lindsey.

  2. why bother patching holes? consider them textural interest. and frayed edges? well, those are the mark of a well-lived life. like melissa said, you’ve woven an exquisite literary quilt here. keep weaving, my friend. keep weaving.

  3. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about mindfulness lately, and practicing just observing and accepting “what is”. I’ve realized that when I let myself just be me, to accept my emotions, what I feel is ragged and torn. Instead of worrying about how and when the tears are going to heal, I’m trying to say “OK, I’m feeling torn and vulnerable today. This is real, and this is me. I’m going to go work/clean the house/play with my son as I am, and let what happens happen, because this is the only way for me to be.” I have to trust that just by recognizing my state of being and not trying to force a false healing, life will unfold the way I need it to. Maybe some wounds will always remain open, maybe some will truly heal, and maybe some will just be spackled over with play-doh and flowers picked with sticky fingers – the whole will create a mosaic that is uniquely me. It won’t be right or wrong, it will just be.

  4. Weave on…
    You know I feel the same, especially recently.
    What I loved (coming back to last weekend) was Karen’s notion that we’re not broken. That’s something that needs attention…

    (I might be totally off base and just looking for ways to spout of new found knowledge ;))

  5. “meaning in the weaving itself”

    That line alone fills me more hope than you can imagine, thank you, as I continue finding threads, shards, bits and pieces of words and love and life…

  6. Beautiful poem! And your commentary resonates, too. Feeling like a collection of scraps (often scraps that probably nobody wants) is something I’ve felt, too. But the act of weaving keeps us afloat.

  7. We weave fabric, threads and ribbons into a structure that holds, holds something of us. It may hold us together for a long time or a brief time. The meaning of it does not have to be grand. I come to words as a poet and meaning… is just that. What ” I” mean… if you will, the me, an(d) whatever else I make of it. Life is lived in moments but it is the reflection on those moments that makes the pictures and the words that we are. No one wants or can live a flat and smooth life. Texture, wrinkles are the interesting bits of character. Holes and tears are the opportunities we take to grow and understand. Looking for One unambiguous guiding passion is illusive. Life is experience and would you really want to experience only ONE thing? I know your frustrations, it is difficult sometimes scary to never believe you have a direction a calling, something you do exquisitely well but it is the essence of a creative, fluid, restless and LIVING mind.

  8. Remember and trust that what you see as fragmentary when looking from so close a perspective forms “a design so vast” that only those of us looking from afar can truly appreciate.

  9. It is so hard for me to be mindful of what is. I am either living in the past or worried about the future – I realize I am cheating the present, but am unable to grasp what I need to cement myself in THIS moment.

    Lovely imagery of weaving.

  10. Thank you. I needed this today.

    I’m feeling very weak and very broken right now. I’ve been frantically searching for peace and in that search I’ve found myself patching hole after hole.

  11. This brought back to mind an arresting image from a poem I heard read last night on Writer’s Almanac (“Theories of Time and Space” by Natasha Trethewey):

    “riggings of shrimp boats are loose stitches

    in a sky threatening rain.”

    As for me, wishing you well, tangled up in the loom with all of us as the warp says, “woof.”

  12. oh i LOVE the idea that it is through the weaving that strength is found. i too search for sense amongst the broken shards and pieces of my life

    wonderful food for thought

    {found via your comment left about my poem on bindu’s blog yesterday}

  13. a kaliedoscope is such a powerful image for me. One broken piece of glass, sharp and trashy on its own, but put it together with others and it turns the world into a whole new vision.

    I save pieces from broken glasses these days to remind me breaking things is part of the lovliness of using my life well.

    You write about this a lot. This is a powerful image for you. It is meaningful for me. I think we are all shards in the tube of your emerging kaliedoscope.

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