Sunday, July 14, 2019

Dialogue: The Thin Thread that Connects

As a child, I was fascinated with spider webs.  The ability to create intricate patterns that intersected and strengthened the overall design one day... and then the next day, the design was gone or changed!  Now, mind you, I didn't necessarily appreciate spiders... but their webs were fascinating, beautiful, and functional.

Years later, I read a book called The Web of Inclusion by Sally Helgesen.  She described how emerging female leaders were beginning to succeed in the traditional organizational hierarchy... but with an added dimension:  a woman's strength of building and maintaining relationships interwove the top-down flow of authority and supervision with the intersecting elements of communication and interdependence between individuals and teams.

The image of a spider's web which entraps its prey was transformed into a symbol that included all aspects of an organization.

Thin Thread: how have you experienced
interconnections with others?
( Cape Tribulation, near Daintree Rainforest, Australia)

So, as I was traveling through the Yukon Territory last year, I stopped short when our guide, James, began talking philosophically about the "thread that binds us."  My mind called forth the image of the spider's web and the symbol of inclusion.  Which thread tends to bind us: prey or inclusion?

As James revealed his story of an Irish childhood with his southwestern U.S. adulthood, he explained how this thread sometimes gets very thin... but it will never break.  Why?  Because of our need to be accepted, included... together.  We have a desire for structure and to be united... AND... we have a desire to be individual and independent.

All of nature is engaged in this creative struggle:  survival of the fittest alongside the ability to adapt and be transformed; the protection of the young and powerless alongside the young moving away from the familiar.  Our bodies grow and change; our thoughts and values evolve; but we remain who we are.

Thin Thread: which do you focus on -- 
the different colors or the whole?
(Emerald Lake, Yukon Territory)

The diversity and the sameness blend together to form a landscape that draws us together.  The  dark moments and the brilliantly illuminated events compete and complete who we are!

As we soaked in the autumn splendor of Yukon's Emerald Lake, James explained how the water's colors reflected the clay and calcium carbonate in the shallow waters... alongside bluer shades from deeper waters.  The fall colors in the changing trees, the colored patterns in the lake, the rising mountains, and the blue sky... all reflected nature's creativity.  But, tomorrow, the scene would be different.

Thin Thread: are you able to see the splendor
of our combined tapestry?

(Pacific Ocean sunset)

I believe that dialogue encourages and strengthens these thin threads which bind us.  We may need to rethink our relationships, change how we communicate, or undo the harm left over from previous days.  But, if we choose, we might need to step back and seek a different view:  one that respects relationships; one that encourages inclusion.  Like a tapestry, each thread counts in the overall image of who we are.

May this week allow us to consider the threads that are woven between us.  May we seek to understand why some threads are thin.  And may we choose to be bound together for the common good.

Larry Gardepie

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