In all our lives, many threads run. We seem to like the idea of threads: they are continuous, and suggest permanence, longevity, and connectivity. People talk about blood lines as a way of linking the past to the present, establishing status of quality by showing from whom they are descended, and establishing hereditary rights. In fiction we follow a thread of clues from mystery to revelation. Even our lives are a continuous thread of moments, beginning with birth and never ending. Many are familiar with Shakespeare’s expression in Macbeth: Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time.
These threads are metaphoric, of course, and not literal. The Classics tell about the Fates who hold the threads of our lives in their hands, deciding when a particular thread will be cut and a particular life ended. Lord Chancellor Sankey (1935) gave a famous speech about The Golden Thread: Throughout the web of the English Criminal Law one golden thread is always to be seen that it is the duty of the prosecution to prove the prisoner’s guilt…. Legal systems in every democracy depend on this ‘golden thread’. Even the public attitude of ‘innocent until accused’ falls before it in a moral, well-balanced and well-ordered state.
The String Theory of Quantum Physics explains universal existence as all matter being made up of strings of ‘quarks’—the absolutely smallest particle of energy in the universe. String Theory says the Universe is made up entirely of strings of energy! The universal fabric is woven from threads of quarks.
The important thing about threads is that they are constant. They may move or vibrate under different conditions, but they are always present, in time and place. Their impact may be significant or subtle. The fabric of your own life is woven from such threads. Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow has led you from Birth to Now. All your travels, no matter how complex or erratic, have connected you from place to place. Your life has been made up of people (threads of relationships) that have helped define you, inspire you, given you a sense of purpose, constituting the fabric of your life. Your friends and family are certainly part of that fabric, and also, the stranger with the kind smile and gentle greeting that resuscitates your waning spirit in moments of darkness. People you know, and people you don’t know, contribute to the fabric of your life. The gesture of a stranger may have greater significance than the gesture of a friend at certain points on that Thread. So, the thread may appear for only an instant, but is critical to your Life.
You yourself are a thread—your character, wisdom, spirit, and compassion—individual fibres that create you. Your role in Life is sometimes seemingly inconsequential, but has tremendous impact. Are you the person who listens to the songs and stories of a small child because no one else does? Are you the member of the public that makes it worthwhile for the pianist to perform, the author to write, or the painter to paint? You can’t imagine the significance of such slight gestures, or the depth of appreciation that the person feels.
At other times, your participation is of greatest consequence. You are a parent, a teacher, a lover, a friend, a listener. You, as a thread, are a vital part of the fabric of the existence and happiness of others. Many people, at the time of someone’s death, have been consoled with the realization that their participation in the Departed’s lifetime gave it a fine quality.
Because the Universal fabric is made from threads, and because every thread has moments of subtlety as well as importance, every thread—every person—is vital to the continuity of Creation. Just as literal threads can create masterful, quilted works of art, the quilting of individuals can encourage and even create a tapestry of life that is amazing. This is something we can treasure, and realize our role in the lives of others.
No one is not necessary.
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