A few years ago, I had breakfast with an old college roommate. We hadn’t seen each other in twenty-two years. To my surprise—and delight—he looked almost exactly as he did the last time I saw him. The only difference was that his blond hair was mostly gray.
We spent an hour or so eating and reminiscing. We talked. We laughed. And we listened.
I shared with him pictures of my family, both of us laughing at the fact that I was now a grandfather. I was amazed at how much we still had in common, even though both our lives had taken so many unexpected turns.
I was especially proud that my friend was still married, still in the ministry, and still growing as a person. He was no worse for the wear, but much wiser and, somehow, deeper and more thoughtful. I know that if we lived closer together, we would be good friends once again.
As he dropped me off at the airport and drove away, I teared up. I knew I would probably not see him again any time soon.
After all, he’s a busy pastor. I was, at the time, a busy CEO. We have our own lives, not to mention the fact that we live at opposite ends of the country. But, still, it made me sad and pensive.
But I think something resonated at an even deeper level.
As I was catching him up on the events of my life, I got another high-altitude panoramic look at my own life. I saw the beauty of my journey and how very much I have to be thankful for. I have had a rich and meaningful life. I am so grateful for every experience.
Not that it’s always been easy. Hardly. Frankly, there’s been a lot of pain. Bad decisions. Expensive mistakes. Words and actions that I regret. But, by the grace of God, I have made it this far. I have no complaints. And by the grace of God I will continue on.
It made me also think again how much life is like a tapestry. Corrie ten Boom originally introduced me to this metaphor.
As it unfolds in real time, it’s like viewing the backside of a tapestry. It appears to be nothing more than a jumble of thread—tangled, frayed, occasionally knotted, and seemingly random. Nothing really makes sense. It’s no wonder people lose heart, give up, and abandon their commitments.
But things are not always what they seem.
It’s only when you turn a tapestry over that you see the art: the rich colors, the texture, and the patterns that can make a tapestry a thing of astonishing beauty.
Likewise, occasionally God gives us a glimpse at what He is weaving into the fabric of our lives. That momentary peek at glory gives us the courage to soldier on, knowing that nothing happens by accident.
No thread of experience—good or bad—is wasted. When it appears to be that way, we just have to remind ourselves that we are simply looking at the backside of a tapestry. And the One weaving it together, knows precisely what He is doing.