A Tapestry of Light and Life

A man had spent seven years weaving a tapestry only for it to be swallowed up by the fire that caught in the building in which he housed it. The next day the man started again, and for twenty-eight years more he weaved, only without needle and thread, which too were lost in the blaze.

That man has long since passed away. Some say he died of old age. Some say they saw him running through the street, aflame. Still others say that one day he took that second tapestry—a shimmering wonder to behold brighter than even that first, fateful conflagration—down from the vaulted ceiling from which it had been suspended as he worked, wrapped himself in its folds, and vanished on the spot.

The question posed by the parable above is one of a life’s work, or of a person’s idiosyncratic concern and focus, as well as of what an individual achieves in the end as a consequence of their faithful, almost ritualistic, labour. The point is that there are details, even whole passages, about such lifelong dedication which don’t make sense, or at the very least remain doubtful. Still more, the work—such as the work of the man in the passage above—is about something other than what the daily, physical action accomplishes, and what brings it all to an end—what final moment leads to it being deemed successful, or a failed attempt—is not immediately understood as such, and may at best be the ground for the speculation of onlookers.

All this to say, that upon the moment when you take a step back to look at all your life, may at least the sum of your days’ actions prove incandescent, able to engulf all doubt and fear, and may there be, too—but only for those of you who have the same flare as the man above—some inexplicable culmination, a final act, which others look back on with wonder.

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