When I taught school in England many years ago, I visited Hampton Court Palace, home of Henry VIII. Just outside of London, the Palace today demonstrates the way that great estates operated, from kitchen and stables to ballrooms. I was especially struck by the enormous tapestries on the walls. These magnificent weavings came from the area that is now Belgium and integrated the most sophisticated art and technology of the day. They tell stories of the Middle Ages–but only the idyllic bits.
In a tapestry, the intricate weaving, stitching and knotting of threads creates a beautiful picture on the front. The back reveals the fuller story. It’s messy. It can be ugly. It doesn’t always make sense. It’s hard to imagine that the chaos on the back is necessary to create the beautiful picture on the front, but every tapestry has a reverse.
In our LCS school family, we have the privilege of lavishing grace and mercy on each other as we understand that everyone’s story has a reverse side.
Back during the long days of young motherhood when the daily realities of life with small children often seemed overwhelming, I mistakenly thought that some people just had it all together. I looked at perfect clothes, perfect book reports, neat simile projects and easy AR points and wished that I could get it all together, too.
I realize now that when I saw only the front of other people’s tapestries, I missed an opportunity for authentic community. Especially at the end of the year when we’re tired. Really tired. And the only one who seems to understand is Jen Hatmaker.
“Remember, we all stumble, every one of us.
That’s why it’s a comfort to go hand in hand.”
A tapestry hangs in our dining room over the fireplace today. It’s a reminder to me of the reality that that our lives are woven together in ways that are beautiful and complicated. Through the daily ministries of hospitality, grace and mercy to one another during even the most painful times in our lives, God is creating a tapestry that is His perfect plan. A perfect picture of His providence and grace.
Even when it’s messy.
Especially when it’s messy.
Mrs. Jennifer Canady serves as the Director of the RISE Institute at LCS. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.