Monday, June 7, 2010

Threads of life

Last week I ran into a mom I know from the children's theatre. We were chatting about this and that, and out of the blue she said, "You know, I used to think homeschooling was a bad thing. Now my kids are in high school and I feel like I never had time to savor their childhood. I was always too focused on my work and my career. I turned everything over to the professionals, and I kind of wish I'd done it differently."

In between feeling taken aback and gratified, I marveled at how life sometimes brings us together with people who see the world differently. That's a good thing. It helps us appreciate how the choices we make weave the threads of our lives into very different fabric. You and I both have a career thread (call it yellow) and a family thread (call it red) and a community thread (call it green) and a friends-and-neighbors thread (call it orange) and a what-I-want thread (call it purple), and perhaps a spiritual or faith thread (call it blue). Yet what we weave from these, and the tonal values of the plaid we arrive at depends on our priorities. My life would have been notably different had I used more yellow than red, or less blue than purple.
I appreciate this woman in many ways, not least of which is that she is humble. I appreciate that she kept her (former) disapproval of my choice to homeschool to herself, instead of whipping me with it. I appreciate her introspection, and her willingness to assess where she is and where she'd like to be. I appreciate that she trusted me to listen to her rather than judge her. And I appreciate that -- for all of us -- the pattern of our future is still mainly influenced by our values and how we choose to live them  out.

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