An Unfinished Masterpiece – Struggles with Insignificance
It was a cold winter’s day and I was alone at home.
What better to time to do some throwing out of old stuff and to consolidate my wardrobe? Now normally, when this motivation began to overtake me, I would take one look, feel daunted, turn on my heels and head for the kitchen for a cup of tea. But today was different. As I scrabbled on my knees, hands fishing for out-of-fashion, worn goods to give away, I reached expectantly into the cavern of mystery that is at the back of every woman’s wardrobe. And I discovered … hidden treasure!
I couldn’t see it at all, due to the darkness in part, but also to the conglomeration of swinging dresses, coats and blouses that populated the hanging space, suspended from above like bored monkeys on a twisted jungle vine. Reaching through the overgrowth of too much clothing, my hands, searching for shoes, came to rest on an object that felt interesting and familiar, but very un-shoe like. This dear and precious item, about which I had written an entire chapter in my book “Dancing With My Daddy”, had been lurking in the dark awaiting discovery on just such a day as this. The tapestry had been buried at the back of the quiet and undisturbed space, disguised and protected as it sat inside an old pillowcase. As safe as houses it had been, due to my rare forays into the depths of this part of the robe jungle. For rarely did my fleeting motivation ever lead to any results of the significant culling of clothes!
The impact of my discovery was instant as I recognized it at first feel. Like a trophy deservedly won, I whisked it triumphantly into the light, handling it with the care and concern that one gently does with an aging prized possession…for indeed it was!
Again it told its story to me. Sitting back on the carpet, I gently caressed my treasure’s surface and broke into a smile at the memory of its discovery, years before, and the impact of the chapter that had come out of that day.
It’s a very old, unfinished, neatly sewn embroidered piece of cloth that my Dad had crafted way back in the days of his soldiering life with the army. As a member of the British Colonial force once stationed in the ancient city of Kolkata, India, (Calcutta, it was once called) Dad had been impressed and moved by the appearance of the beautiful monument, the Taj Mahal. Its building was not only impressive but in many ways magical and spiritual all at once. Years later as he tried to recreate its image in sewn threads, ever so neatly brought together with what remained in his mind, he would never have thought that one day, almost seventy years later, it would be written about in a book by his daughter.
“Late at night he would sit in the lounge room, alone with the memories, adding a bit more to the legacy that needed to be left. The work provided a welcome respite from the pressures in his head. It softened the memory of war and calmed the whirlpool of emotion and injustice that threatened at each turn of life to drag him inward, spiraling toward a mire of choking mud – like the negativity that refused to release his mind “
My Dad never finished the tapestry. And therein lies the principle impact of this artwork, and of its story. It’s unfinished, but significant.
My father struggled with insecurity and feelings of insignificance for most of his life…just as I do…just as many of us would admit to as well, in our quiet moments.
We are like the tapestry… unfinished, but so very valuable.
It’s unfinished, but a treasure in the eyes of those who behold it with love.
Have you ever been concerned that you are “unfinished’? Felt insignificant? Have you worried that you are not achieving the things that are ‘important’ and ‘acceptable’ to everyone around you, most of whom seem to be so much more effective in life?
Each of us is a work of art that is beautiful and complex. Often when life’s circumstances cause us to ‘turn’ we can expose our ‘tangled side’ that’s still being worked on. And often that’s the side we don’t want to present to the world, but would rather hide away. Deep down in the dark, unable to be seen… We don’t like this ‘turning’ it’s like a chaos that yells “I’m unfinished!”…..or “I’m insignificant!”…
Like a forgotten, half finished creative work, are you content or resigned to be sitting in the shadows, disappointed with yourself and your achievements and where you are in life…even some of the time?
I don’t know anyone that’s truly happy with the way that they are, how they behave (mostly), or what they’ve been or even where they’re going in life, do you? Most of us feel ‘unfinished’ sometimes, and wonder if that elusive capture of what we think we really want to be, to do, or to have…will ever actually be ours!
If we were satisfied with ourselves the way we are, wouldn’t we lose our ‘edge’ and our striving to be different? Wouldn’t we just sit around and gloat over what we’ve done and achieved, never to cultivate a vision and a healthy dissatisfaction with what’s ahead?
“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a great work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”
Unlike our human tendency to leave things ‘undone’ we can depend on God to bring things to a completion…and a perfect one at that – because He’s God! So unlike ourselves in our pursuit of perfection, God leads us and gently guides us towards His path for us…highlighting along the way all the things that help us to ‘grow’ and to become even more like the beautiful picture that He’s created us to be, than we can imagine.
I’m glad I started to tidy up my wardrobe on that winter’s day. I was reminded of a beautiful lesson. I may feel insignificant at times, but to the One who made me…I’m a beautiful and timeless treasure.
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